Supreme Court urged to invalidate two constitutional amendments

By Kolbie Satterfield

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court was urged last week to let the people’s will prevail on two constitutional amendments that were invalidated by the courts after being approved by voters last year.

One amendment would strengthen gun rights, the other would establish a so-called, “right to farm.”

Missouri voters approved both in 2014. Subsequent court decisions struck the measures down based on challenges to the wording of each proposal’s description that appeared on the ballot.

A lawsuit brought by St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson urged the court to affirm rejection of the voter-approved, gun-rights measure.

Dotson’s attorney, Chuck Hatfield, said there was an irregularity in the wording of the description. Hatfield said what the voters saw on the ballot was not a proper summary of the amendment, rather the Constitution.

Among the lawyers arguing on behalf of voter approval was Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, the sponsor the legislation which put the proposed amendment on the ballot.

“There is zero evidence for this court to look at and say that anyone was mislead, much less plaintiffs don’t even allege they were mislead,” Schaefer said.

Following the debate over gun rights, the “right-to-farm” amendment displayed the same type of debate in the Missouri’s highest court. A lawyer testifying in favor of rewriting and then revoting on the amendment said the ballot did not accurately describe for what Missourians voted.

Mark Hearne with Farmer Care testified the amendment should stay as it stands.

It is undetermined when the court will come to a decision.