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Cole Co. Court strikes Mo. auditor’s power on initiatives

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge has struck down the state auditor’s authority to prepare financial estimates for ballot initiatives.

The ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem comes in a challenge to a proposed tobacco tax initiative for which supporters are not gathering signatures. But attorneys who specialize in initiative petitions say the ruling ultimately could affect other initiatives.

Beetem said a state law requiring the auditor to assess the financial impact of ballot initiatives runs afoul of the Missouri Constitution. The constitution says the auditor shall not have any duties imposed upon him that are not related to supervising and auditing the receipt and expenditure of public money.

A spokesman for Auditor Tom Schweich (shwyk) says the decision will be appealed.

Read additional coverage of this case in our newspaper or e-Edition for Friday, March 2, 2012.

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