Capitol Rep. David Evans January 22, 2021Ozark Radio News

Things are starting to get a lot busier on Capitol Hill this 2022 session. Governor Mike Parson delivered his annual State of the State address last week, noting Missouri’s very strong economy and a likely tax cut this year to help all Missourians. I believe Governor Parson was and is a strong leader for our state as well as a good and honorable man.

Justin Shelby - WP - In History

In the Budget Committee, we started slow, but we will be accelerating the assignment process this week now that Chairman Cody Smith is back from leave due to family illness, and we will continue strong over of the next two months. According to the Missouri Constitution, the budget process begins in the House, then goes to the Senate, then disputes are settled in conference, and finally, it goes to the governor. By law, we are required to have a balanced public budget. During his Joint State of the State Session, the Governor announced several of his 2022-2023 budget priorities.

This week, I have scheduled a marathon hearing on the COVID warrant to be held at the House Judiciary Committee at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. We will look at 19 different but similar bills. Also at the request of the bill’s sponsor, I will postpone a hearing on a bill drafted to close a loophole in Missouri that allows for private eminent domain. Hopefully we can finish this hearing on Wednesday night. You can go to the Missouri House website and find specific hearing dates and times, and you can watch all House hearings live.

The chairman of the House Elections and Elected Officers Committee also granted me a second hearing on a resolution I drafted proposing a constitutional amendment on the reform of the Constitutional Initiative Petition which is scheduled to be heard later this week.

The initiative’s petition reform is about making it harder for big-money special interest groups to forever change our Missouri Constitution. Since 1945, our Missouri Constitution has been amended about 126 times (that’s more than 1.5 times a year). In contrast, our US Constitution has only been amended 17 times since 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified. Our founding fathers knew that it is far more important to protect fundamental constitutional rights and the constitutional limits of government than to change them. And overwhelmingly, people in that part of the state told me they agreed.

But why is it so much easier to change our Missouri Constitution? First, it only takes a 50% plus 1 vote to amend our constitution versus a 2/3 vote followed by a 3/4 vote to amend the US Constitution. And two, the big out-of-state special interest groups have learned that they can buy our constitution using a proven formula.

In this formula, you just need a bunch of money. Using this money, lobbyists first hire a team of specialists to create a simplistic but misleading message (sometimes called the “ballot candy”). Then they craft their own proposed amendment in such a complicated and confusing way that you have to hire a team of lawyers to figure it out. Then they buy a team of signature collectors. These individuals are more likely than non-paid professionals to be paid extra for each signature collected and are generally not ‘core’ volunteers. Finally, special interest groups simply outmaneuver any opposition by bombarding the airways with misleading television and internet advertisements, including identical mass digital messages.

Obviously, the big budget formula works. Our Missouri Constitution will soon be over 8 times larger than our US Constitution in a much shorter time, and it continues to grow.

The resolution I filed is identified as HJR 102 (House Joint Resolution 102). My proposal, if ultimately approved by voters, would change the vote needed to change our state’s supreme laws (our Missouri Constitution) from 50% plus 1 to a 2/3 vote. My intention in introducing this bill is to better protect fundamental constitutional rights by not allowing them to be easily sold to the highest bidder.

Our founding fathers strongly agreed, believing that the limitations and rights contained in the constitution are so important that they require much greater protection, but some disagree. It’s no secret that money buys influence. Although some like to call this reform a partisan issue (Republicans for the reform against Democrat against), I do not. Greed is a sin that can corrupt regardless of politics.

Even if it is finally approved and put on the ballot, the reform of the initiative petition will be an uphill battle to win. Millions of special interest dollars will be spent in opposition, and only a very strong popular effort can overcome the influence of so much money.

I apologize for maybe rambling about this for so long, but it’s so important. People continue to fight and die to protect our rights. Our supreme laws deserve our strongest protection.

Please check the House website for updates on bills and resolutions, and remember that you can offer your testimony and opinion online on this same site.

It is an honor for me to represent your values ​​of common sense. If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally or at the Capitol, please call my office at 573-751-1455, or email my office at

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