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Missouri Citizens to Decide Important Issues
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, July 27, 2014 - The August 5, 2014 primary puts several important statewide ballot issues before Missouri citizens including the Missouri Right-to-Farm, Right to Bear Arms, Sales Tax for Transportation, Veterans Lottery Ticket and Electronic Data Protection.

The League of Women Voters of Missouri has provided information on the following ballot issues, along with Pros and Cons for voters to be informed before they cast a vote:

Proposition 1 - The Missouri Right-to-Farm Amendment
If passed, the rights of Missourians to engage in farming and ranching practices would be guaranteed, subject to any power given to local government under Article VI of the Missouri Constitution.

Proponents say that farmers need to be protected from outside interest groups who threaten to regulate farming and ranching. They want to protect Missouri farmers from "environmental extremists." They also say that Missouri farmers and ranchers are knowledgeable in their practices and do not want or need additional regulations. They say that this amendment was worded in a general way to encompass all possible practices. If litigation should arise, a judge and jury would be able to make a fair and just decision depending on the circumstances. The amendment will save jobs, protect family farms from out-of-state animal-rights groups and protect small and family farmers who do not have the resources to mount legal challenges or relocate their farms like corporations can.

Opponents say that this amendment is vague and could favor corporate over Missouri family farms. It is the Tysons and industrial pork producers who would benefit from the amendment. It is unclear what "farming and ranching practices" are referred to. It may allow environmental damage because it would decrease regulation. State regulators would have more difficulty controlling super-food poisoning bugs created as a result of feeding antibiotics to livestock, large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, and pet breeding facilities. Missouri's streams and rivers could be further polluted because of manure run off. The amendment could also result in high litigation costs for the state of Missouri.

Proposition 5 - Right to Bear Arms Amendment
If passed, the amendment would expand the right to keep and bear arms to include ammunition and related accessories for such arms. This amendment also removes the language "the right to keep and bear arms" does not justify the wearing of concealed weapons. The amendment does not prevent the legislature from limiting the rights of certain felons and certain individuals adjudicated as having a mental disorder. The measure will have no impact on taxes.

Proponents say that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and has been so since the founding of this country. Even though the Missouri Constitution already provides protections for the right to bear arms in defense of one's home, property and person, the amendment "would force courts to use a higher standard of review when considering constitutionality of gun controls."

Opponents say that this amendment will make it more difficult to reduce gun violence and enact local state and federal common-sense laws to reduce it. The repeal of the state's handgun purchaser licensing law has resulted in more murders. They also argue that a current constitutional provision allowing restrictions on concealed guns would be repealed.

Proposition 7 - Missouri Temporary Sales Tax for Transportation Amendment
Voters must decide if the state Constitution should be amended to increase the sales tax temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent for the next ten years. See related story: Know the Issues Before You Vote in August 2014 Primary

Proposition 8 - Veterans Lottery Ticket Amendment
If passed, the Missouri Constitution would be amended to create a "Veterans Lottery Ticket." The revenue raised from the sale of tickets will be used for Missouri veterans' services and projects. There will be no impact on taxes.

Proponents say that the lottery would help fund the state's seven veterans home, which have 1,800 on the waiting list. They point out that Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois have veterans' lotteries and have raised millions annually.

Opponents say that they are concerned that this new lottery will take away ticket sales from the Education Lottery. They also say that special lotteries allow the state legislature to lower appropriations

Proposition 9 - Missouri Electronic Data Protection Amendment
Proponents say that the amendment is a logical extension of existing protections from unwarranted searches and seizures. They are concerned that electronic data should be protected as well. They oppose increasing tracking of cell phones and other private electronic data unless there is evidence of criminal activity.

Opponents say that this amendment might have unintended consequences and might make it more difficult for law enforcement to investigate cyber-crimes. They also say that state actions are limited without federal action on this issue.

Governor Nixon Calls for Audit of Missouri Lottery
JEFFERSON CITY, MO, (, July 27, 2014 - Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that he has ordered the Office of Administration to conduct a comprehensive review of the Missouri Lottery's operations to assess its ability to carry out its voter-approved mandate to provide a stable funding source for public schools.

"For more than two decades, Missourians have counted on the lottery to help provide the resources our schools need to deliver the high quality education our kids deserve," Gov. Nixon said. "Today, we have a responsibility to make sure the lottery keeps its promise to our public schools in an efficient and effective manner. This comprehensive review will help ensure the Missouri Lottery continues to fulfill its mission of providing a stable funding source for Missouri schools now and for years to come."

In 1992, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment under which Missouri Lottery revenues are earmarked solely for public education. In Fiscal Year 2014, the percent of lottery revenues going to education dropped to 23 percent, its lowest point in at least a decade, while lottery ticket sales continued to increase.

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