Amendment 6 and 7
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Amendment 6 and 7

Date: November 8, 2006
By: Kathryn Buschman
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri voters overwhelming passed a Missouri Constitutional amendment that one state legislator says voters didn't even understand.

Amendment 7 will make it harder for legislators to reject pay raises for elected officials and judges. The pay raises are proposed by a state commission created in 1994 by a Constitutional amendment. Amendment 7 requires 2/3 vote of the General Assembly to reject a salary change. Currently only a majority of legislators' votes are needed to reject a pay change. 

"I  ran into many voters who thought they were voting to ban felons from receiving pension benefits," Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Jackson County said Tuesday night. Callahan said the ballot language was deceptive because the first three paragraphs of the ballot language don't address that the amendment is about is pay raise. " I know some voters were horrified when they told me that they had voted for it, they had no idea that was in there." 

In addition to raising the vote to reject a pay increase, the measure would also repeal the legislatures' power to reduce salary increases adopted by the commission.

The amendment also denies pension to elected state officials, legislators or judges if they are convicted of a felony that happened while in office, or removed from office because of impeachment or misconduct.

Under Amendment 7 no pay raises can take effect until January 1, 2009. The salary commission is supposed to meet every two years to create salary plans for judges and elected officials, but it has not met since 2000.

Voters also approved Amendment 6, which added just a couple words to the Missouri Constitution. The amendment exempts veterans' organizations from having to pay real and some personal property taxes.  The constitution already exempts "purely charitable" organizations from paying property taxes but a ruling in the 1990s by the state tax commission declared certain aspects of veterans' organization not purely charitable.

Only two taxing jurisdictions in the state taxed veterans' organizations. One of the resolution's sponsors, Sen. Luann Ridgeway, R-Clay County, said veterans' organizations would have struggled if they had to pay property taxes.

Both amendments were created and passed by the General Assembly during the legislative session.