Voters to Decide Five Different Constitutional Amendment Questions

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 07/14 2014 09:34PM

Updated 07/15 2014 10:11AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) From the fields to the firing range to the computer forensics lab, Missouri voters will have a lot to decide in three weeks.

Five separate amendments to the state constitution will be on the ballot August 5, including Amendment I -- the so-called "Right to Farm" law.

If passed, it would limit future regulations on farming. Some say it's a sell-out to big corporate farms while those who support the measure say it is needed to allow small farms to grow and prosper.

"No regulation may prohibit Missouri farmers from planting genetically-enhanced corn seed without showing an important state interest served," said Missouri State Attorney General Chris Koster. No law can force poultry producers to change out all their cages or raise only free-range chickens without showing the important state interest served by curtailing a Missouri farmer's right to farm."

Amendment V confirms that the right to bear arms is an unalienable right. Missouri citizens already have the right to bear arms for defense purposes, so some call the measure symbolic.

Amendment VII is a 10-year, three-quarter cent sales tax for road repairs and other transportation needs. It would produce $480 million that MoDOT says is needed.

"It's one of those things where we are at a critical junction as far as funding," said Tony McGaughy, assistant district engineer for MoDOT. "We're barely able to maintain what we have and actually looking down the road, it doesn't look like we're going to have the funding to maintain the system that we have now."

Amendment VIII would establish the Missouri Veterans Lottery Ticket. That means the special ticket's profits would go solely toward veterans programs.

Amendment IX would add electronic communications and data, such as that from cell phones, to the state constitution prohibiting against unreasonable searches and seizures. State Senator Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph was one of the writers of the amendment.

"People used to just carry briefcases full of documents," Schaaf said. "Now pretty much everything that you need is on your cell phone. Your text messages, your emails, your contact list and documents of all types. I, for example, as a physician, might have patients sensitive communications on there."

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