The amending of constitutions, whether local, regional or national, should be a rare and limited occurrence. They should not be altered in order to fast track policy or legislate issues. There are other administrative and decision making mechanisms in place for that. But on the November 4 ballot Missourians will see exactly that, an attempt to set policy and law by amending the constitution in several ways. They are all patently bad and the political originators of said proposals hope to deceive an unwitting public with tricky language.
Amendment 3 would require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using an evaluation system based on student performance data. It also would require local districts to use a standards-based evaluation system if they want to continue to receive state funding. The amendment would also limit teacher contracts to three years and prohibit teachers form organizing for collective bargaining. What great teachers will be attracted with these regressive policies? What teacher will go into the distressed school system with challenged students and low performance in order to make a difference – if they will be evaluated by the student’s performance, always teach to the test, never have job security and be unable to collectively bargain for better salary or benefits? Are you kidding me? This is patently bad for Missouri. Vote no.
Amendment 6 pretends to extend voting opportunity but is really a replacement for the original proposal. It weakens voting access and opportunity in significant ways. This amendment actually attempts to impose limits for early voting as might be provided by an act of the legislature. It limits early voting to only six days (a majority of states with early voting provide 10-30 days), during business hours only and no Sundays. This limiting frame of opportunity excludes the people who need after work hours and weekend voting the most. That is not accidental. The framers of this amendment want to limit the voting of those people, most typically the working poor and large numbers of ethic voters who have traditionally voted on Sundays. This is patently bad for Missouri. Vote no.
Amendment 10 would shift the authority over and and responsibility for maintaining a balanced budget from the Governor to the General Assembly. This is a ridiculous ploy to remove authority from the Governor by those who want to take the power for themselves, the present legislature. It would create a most inefficient system to handle state finances, diluting who is responsible for maintaining a balanced budget. And it politicizes the decision making process even more, placing more roadblocks in the allocation process. Most of all it will corrupt the balance of powers between governmental branches. This is patently bad for Missouri. Vote no.
When the Spartans left their most lovely statuesque horse outside the gates of Troy at the end of a seemingly failed siege, their parting gift was a brilliant deception. The Trojan Horse held a hidden cargo of warriors. After the exultant inhabitants of the city moved the seemingly benign horse inside the gates it soon revealed its deadly contents under the cover of darkness. The gates were opened and Troy was lost. The compilation of these proposed amendments to the Missouri constitution represents exactly that, a Trojan Horse. Residents of Troy be forewarned: Beware of politicians bearing gifts. Do not bring it into your city.