Our Opinion: Withdrawal of constitutional change welcomed
News Tribune editorial
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
“You say you’ll change the constitution Well, you know ...” -John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Organizers have abandoned an effort to change the process of changing change.
Let’s try to sort this one out.
Your Vote Counts!, a group financed primarily by the Humane Society of the United States, has halted an initiative petition campaign to place a proposed constitutional amendment before Missouri voters.
The amendment would make it more difficult for state lawmakers to alter laws approved by voters. The amendment would have required a three-fourths majority in both the House and Senate to change laws approved by voters through the initiative process.
Constitutional amendments — whether proposed by the Legislature or by the people through the initiative process — require statewide voter approval.
State laws — whether enacted by lawmakers or by the people through initiative — may be amended by lawmakers by a simple majority vote in both chambers.
Your Vote Counts! began pursuing the constitutional amendment after lawmakers changed Proposition B, a voter-approved law that increased restrictions on Missouri’s dog breeders.
Proposition B and the now-abandoned amendment drew strong opposition from the state’s agriculture industry. Agriculture interests organized under Missouri Farmers Care to fight what it considered an assault on livestock agriculture by largely out-ofstate interests.
We’re pleased Your Vote Counts! has abandoned its effort, but probably not for the same reasons cited by the group’s campaign manager, Dane Waters.
He said he believes the campaign succeeded in raising awareness among lawmakers and “there’s nothing to be gained by the animosity that has been created” with the agriculture industry.
We respectfully disagree.
We believe much can be learned by discussion, debate and a vote on the dividing lines between the power of the people and the Legislature, and between the interests of animal welfare and agriculture.
We welcome withdrawal, however, because Missouri’s amendment-battered constitution doesn’t need another barrage, particularly one initiated to send a message to lawmakers.