JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that places restrictions on the initiative petition process, but federal courts are questioning the regulations’ constitutionality.
The bill heard last week includes four new regulations. Petition circulators would be required to wear a name tag indicating whether they are paid, and they wouldn’t be allowed to get paid based on the number of signatures gathered. Circulators would also have to be residents of Missouri and registered voters, the Columbia Missourian reported .
"If you’re going to influence how business in Missouri is conducted, you should be a resident of Missouri," said Republican Rep. Jay Houghton, who proposed the bill.
The small individual regulations on the petition process are constitutional, but not as a package, said Woody Cozad, a lobbyist and former chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.
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Britain is considering measures to restrict immigration for all but the highest-skilled EU workers, a leaked government document said, plans some companies called alarming and an opposition lawmaker described as “plainly cruel”. Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament that while immigration had been good for the economy, last year’s vote to leave the European Union showed that people wanted to control the flow of people coming into the country. But companies, especially those in the catering, social care and retail industries which depend on the steady stream of workers from abroad, say they fear a restrictive immigration policy will leave them unable to hire the staff they need. In the document, leaked to the Guardian newspaper and marked “draft – official sensitive”, the interior ministry said Britain was changing its focus to make sure, where possible, British companies take on British workers rather than migrants. “Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off,” the document said. A ministry spokesman said the government did not comment on leaked draft documents and would set out its initial proposals on immigration controls later in the year. May, who as interior minister was in control of migration for six years before becoming prime minister, said the flow of migrants must be controlled to ease the pressure on public services such as schools and hospitals, and to protect those hardest hit at “the lower end of the income scale”. Net migration, which the latest figures put at 246,000, is still far higher than what May describes as “a sustainable level”.
"Inch by inch, we are getting rid of the initiative petition," he said.
Cozad said the biggest threat to the initiative petition is to ban paying petition circulators by the signature.
But Republican Rep. Nick Marshall said paying circulators by the signature results in "badgering." Marshall, of Parkville, also expressed concern about the ethics of such a profit model, comparing it to paying judges by the warrant.
Federal courts across the country have challenged the legality of such regulations. Houghton said the courts will decide if his bill is constitutional.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com