Southwest Missouri Democrats recently gathered to debate Amendment One and held a vote on all August Primary Ballot Amendments. Informational packets with arguments for and against each amendment were provided.
Representative Bill Reiboldt (R), sponsor of Amendment One, spoke in favor, and Bob Glenn, candidate for Dade County presiding commissioner, spoke against. After both presented their arguments, questions from the audience were moderated by Quentin Cooper, intern for the Southwest Missouri Democrats and president of the Carthage High School Young Democrats.
Elliott Denniston, a member of the SWMO Democrats, called attention to Reiboldt's admission that the wording of his amendment is purposely vague. Bob Glenn and others pointed out how dangerous this is because it almost certainly will lead to expensive litigation for the state for many years to come.
"I am astounded that Rep. Reiboldt stated repeatedly that Monsanto has not ‘given a penny’ to fund the effort to pass Amendment One, when the Secretary of State’s official website names Monsanto second only to Missouri Farmers Care on the list of supporting organizations,” Denniston said.
“When I began researching Amendment One, my mission was to provide unbiased information about both sides of the debate. In my many phone conversations with Representative Reiboldt, I became convinced that as a farmer himself, he is well intentioned, but that even he does not understand the full ramifications of Amendment One”, Krista Stark executive director of the Southwest Missouri Democrats added. "In Bob Glenn’s rebuttal he focused on the rights this amendment would bestow upon corporate agribusiness at the expense of small family farmers and Missouri citizens. In addition, this amendment could greatly expand the ownership of Missouri farmland by multinational corporations and foreign countries such as China."
After the debate on Amendment One, the group chose to hold a ballot vote on all five August primary ballot amendments. When votes were counted Amendment One was defeated overwhelmingly. A motion was made and approved to actively oppose Amendment One, deceptively called “Right to Farm”.
Amendment 5, the right to bear arms amendment, also was opposed overwhelmingly. On Amendments 7 (transportation tax), 8 (veteran's lottery ticket), and 9 (security of electronic communications) the vote was much more closely divided.
Many people emphasized the loss of jobs and not remediating the poor conditions of the roads and highways if Amendment 7 does not pass, while other Democrats put more emphasis on the shift of cost from corporations to the middle class.
LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America), the Missouri Chapter is endorsing the amendment, citing the exemption of essential items such as groceries, utilities, mortgages, car payments, healthcare, prescription drugs, education, and retirement savings to the sales tax, (meaning the sales tax will not apply to these items) for the necessary funding for city, county, and state transportation projects.
The vote on Amendment 8, “Veterans Lottery Ticket,” was also very close.
"Southwest Missouri Democrats fully support our veterans, but many voters were concerned about pitting veterans affairs against education, and we do not want to leave the funding of our veterans affairs “to chance” by funding them though an uncertain source of revenue like a lottery ticket," Stark said. "We want our Missouri Veterans funding to be firmly enshrined in our state budget."