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Groups Rejoice as Voters Use Initiatives to Pass Progressive Priorities

Voters bypassed the Missouri Legislature on Tuesday to pass policies on wages, clean elections and medical marijuana. (svablar/iStockphoto)
Voters bypassed the Missouri Legislature on Tuesday to pass policies on wages, clean elections and medical marijuana. (svablar/iStockphoto)
November 8, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Supporters of a higher minimum wage, clean elections and medical marijuana are looking at the next steps to implement the ballot initiatives, while warning politicians not to try to undermine them.

The minimum wage will now rise from $7.85 to $8.60 an hour starting Jan. 1, and will go up 85 cents a year until 2023, when it hits $12 an hour, with cost-of-living increases kicking in annually after that.

Lewis Prince, state coordinator for Missouri
Business for a Fair Minimum Wage
, says Proposition B is nonpartisan, winning a majority among Republican, independent and Democratic voters.

"When citizens have a clear issue in front of them that has both a moral and an economic imperative, they can see it and they can vote for it,” he states. “This is a very big victory and a unifying victory in a really purple state."

Prince contends that the ballot measure's passage is a real rebuke to conservatives in the Legislature, who argued that raising the minimum wage could hurt employment when they voted to prevent the city of St. Louis from raising its minimum wage a few years ago.

Voters also passed Amendment 1, which will put redistricting in the hands of a nonpartisan state auditor, establish campaign contribution limits and put limits on politicians becoming lobbyists.

Benjamin Singer, communications director for the Clean Missouri campaign, says his group will be vigilant – fighting any attempt to go against the voters' intent.

"In 2020 the politicians could try to confuse the voters and put something else on that would reverse some of what the voters already supported,” he states. “And that's why we must keep fighting to protect the will of the people and continue cleaning up our state politics."

Supporters of Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana, say patients will be able to get a doctor's certification to possess the plants after Dec. 6, but it will take many months for the state to write the rules that will allow for companies to grow, process and sell medical marijuana.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MO