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Missouri’s August Primary

Two days ago many voters in the region went to the polls to vote on local measures, such as bond issues. Those of us in the City of St. Louis didn’t have an election, our next time voting will be the Missouri primary on Tuesday August 5, 2014. However, voters in the 13th ward will vote at a special election on April 29th.  Fred Wessels resigned as alderman on December 31st to become the head of the Community Development Administration (CDA):

The CDA, among other things, administers federal funds for housing, community and economic development programs. It’s also responsible for administering the city’s share of federal community development block grants.

Wessels will replace Jill Claybour, who is retiring. (Beacon)

The 13th ward candidates are Beth Murphy (D) and Conan Predergast (R), see official list here.  Phyllis Young of the 7th ward is now the most senior alderman, her and Wessels were both sworn into office in April 1985.

Click image for information on becoming a poll worker.
Click image for information on becoming a poll worker.

IMPORTANT PRIMARY DATES:

  • Absentee balloting begins: Tuesday June 24, 2014
  • Last Day to Register to Vote: Wednesday July 9, 2014
  • Primary Election Day:  Tuesday August 5, 2014

In the city the primary will include three county-level offices: Collector of Revenue, License Collector, and Recorder of Deeds. Let’s take a look at the candidates seeking the nomination of their party:

Collector of Revenue

  • Democratic
    • Gregory F.X. Daly (Incumbent)
    • John P. Parhomski
  • Republican
    • Dylan M. Farrell
  • Green
    • None

License Collector

  • Democratic
    • Mavis “Tesssa” Thompson (Incumbent)
    • Jeffrey L. Boyd
    • Francis Horton
  • Republican
    • None
  • Green
    • Don DeVivo

Recorder of Deeds

  • Democratic
    • Jimmie Matthews
    • Sharon Quigley Carpenter (Incumbent)
    • Edward McFowland
  • Republican
    • Erik Shequist
  • Green
    • None

What do we know from this list? All three incumbents are Democrats, no surprise. What’s surprising and refreshing is all three are being challenged in the primary.  We also know the two Republicans, and the one Green, will represent their respective parties in the November general election.

The most interesting of the races is the Democratic primary for License Collector. Thompson was appointed by Gov. Nixon last year to replace Michael McMillan, who became President of the Urban League of St. Louis.  Alderman Jeffrey Boyd ran unsuccessfully for Treasurer in 2012, coming in 3rd in the 4-way Democratic primary, just after Fred Wessels.

– Steve Patterson

Readers: Missouri Should Fully Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana is everywhere, in the news, these days:

With a majority of Americans now in favor marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama is now saying weed is no more dangerous to individuals’ health than alcohol. (Huffington Post — Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol)

This is a blazing moment for American stoners. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. (Business Week - Legal Weed’s Strange Economics in Colorado)

To be sure, ending prohibition won’t singularly eliminate the underground market or end racism in law enforcement. But it is a constructive step toward those goals, especially considering the aforementioned White House ad correctly acknowledging that marijuana isn’t egregiously dangerous. Sure, the government’s “safest thing in the world” line may have been an overstatement – but it was certainly closer to the truth than all the fear-mongering about our decision to embrace reefer sanity here in Colorado. (Salon – Reefer sanity takes hold in Colorado)

New York is one of the only states in the Northeast without a medical marijuana program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was opposed to medical marijuana, and attempts to create a law have failed to get through the state Senate for years. Now Cuomo has reversed himself, proposing a medical marijuana research program run under exacting federal guidelines that would be the most restrictive in the country.(NPR – New York’s Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution)

News articles will continue on the topic as more states legalize medical & recreational marijuana, Illinois Dept of Health released draft medical marijuana rules yesterday. What about here in Missouri? 

Thirteen initiative petitions related to the legalization of marijuana and hemp products were approved for circulation by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander Wednesday, clearing the way for voters to decide on the issue during the November 2014 election.

For marijuana legalization to make the ballot, petitioners have to get enough signatures to account for eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor’s election from six of the state’s eight congressional districts. (KSDK)

The advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis submitted the petitions for approval but hasn’t yet determined if they’ll work to collect the needed signatures:

But before we launch a full campaign, however, we must assess whether likely 2014 voters will pass any of these measures at the ballot box in November. For that reason, we are hiring a firm to conduct scientific polling on the official ballot language approved by the Secretary of State. Polling is most accurate when respondents are presented with the specific question as it would appear on the ballot, so that is why we could not conduct this polling earlier.

We hope to receive results of the poll by the beginning of February, and if around 60 percent of likely 2014 voters surveyed say they will vote for our measure, we will very likely pursue a campaign this year. 60 percent is considered to be a very safe benchmark because even if support decreases somewhat by Election Day, which is common with initiatives, it will still pass. I am optimistic that the polling will show strong support, but that hunch needs to be tested scientifically. (Show-Me Cannabis)

The weekly polls here are not scientific, but since the same poll last April support of full legalization jumped from 53% to 63%!

Comparison of the results from a non-scienticfic poll conducted in April 2013 and last week.
Comparison of the results from a non-scienticfic poll conducted in April 2013 and last week.

From these results it appears increased full legalization support comes from the legalize medical/decriminalize recreational camp. It’ll be interesting to see the scientific polling of likely Missouri voters. Other states will likely have medical or full legalization on their November ballots.

Why am I so interested? Several reasons: prohibition on marijuana doesn’t make sense from a law enforcement, policy, health, or economic perspective. With the latter — the “green rush” is creating new opportunities, employing people, etc.  For full disclosure: about 14% of my portfolio is comprised of marijuana-related stocks: (CANV, CBIS, FSPM, GRNH).

– Steve Patterson

National Prohibition Ended 80 Years Ago

Eighty years ago our country made a big constitutional change:

The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol in America. At 5:32 p.m. EST, Utah became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, achieving the requisite three-fourths majority of states’ approval. Pennsylvania and Ohio had ratified it earlier in the day. (History.com)

Today many counties in the country remain dry or semi-dry:

33 states have laws which allow localities to prohibit the sale (and in some cases, consumption and possession) of liquor. Still, many of these states have no dry communities. Three states, Kansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, are entirely dry by default: counties specifically must authorize the sale of alcohol in order for it to be legal and subject to state liquor control laws. (Wikipedia)

"Map showing dry (red), wet (blue), and mixed (yellow) counties in the United States" from Wikipedia
“Map showing dry (red), wet (blue), and mixed (yellow) counties in the United States” from Wikipedia

From the same Wikipedia article:

Missouri state law specifically prohibits any counties, or unincorporated city or town from banning the retail sale of liquor, but only allows incorporated cities to ban the sale of liquor by the drink by public referendum. No incorporated Missouri cities have ever chosen to hold a referendum banning alcohol sales. In addition, Missouri state law specifically supersedes any local laws that restrict the sale of alcohol. (see Alcohol laws of Missouri)

At least in this regard, Missouri is a blue state.

– Steve Patterson

Readers: Missouri Should Wait Until Courts Force Same-Sex Marriage

November 27, 2013 Missouri, Politics/Policy 7 Comments

In unusually high voting, it seems readers don’t want Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages until forced to do so by the courts, likely the United States Supreme Court. Here’s the results from last week’s poll:

Q: Should Missouri allow same-sex couples to marry before being required by the courts?

  1. No 130 [51.79%]
  2. Yes 102 [40.64%]
  3. Unsure/no opinion 19 [7.57%]

These polls, of course, aren’t scientific.

Even without recognition by Missouri, my boyfriend and I are registered Domestic Partners with the City of Saint Louis. We’ll be married across the river in Illinois in June. In 2015 we’ll file our federal and state taxes as a married couple.

In the meantime more Missouri same-sex couples will continue getting married out of state — especially border states like Iowa & Illinois. Missouri could draw couples from redder states like Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Doing so would help our state economy.

Once the SCOTUS makes same-sex marriage recognized in all 50 states, the short-term geographic advantage will be lost. Sadly, Missouri will probably be among the final holdouts — like Mississippi and Alabama.

– Steve Patterson

Poll: Should Missouri Allow Same-Sex Couples To Marry Before Being Required By The Courts?

simpsons01
From the Simpsons episode “There’s Something About Marrying”, episode #345 from season 16 which aired on March 18, 2005. Click image for more info

Missouri and same-sex marriage made the national news last week:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) said Thursday that he would sign an executive order to allow gay and lesbian couples who were legally married in other states to file joint tax returns with the state Department of Revenue, a move likely to prompt a legislative reaction from the Republican-dominated legislature.

Nixon told reporters Thursday that because the couples will be able to file joint returns with the Internal Revenue Service, the Missouri Department of Revenue should accept those returns as well. (Washington Post)

Missouri requires couples to file in Missouri as they do their federal return(s).  Those who file individual federal returns must file individual state returns with Missouri, those who file a joint federal return must also do so in Missouri. This worked until the IRS said legally married same-sex couples can file together regardless of their state of residence.

This as two more states recently joined the list recognizing same-sex marriages:

As Hawaii and Illinois join the list of states approving same-sex marriage, the United States crosses a big mark on the issue: More than 1 in 3 Americans will live where same-sex marriage is legal.

It’s a dramatic shift in a short period of time — one not seen on other social issues.

Hawaii’s Legislature passed the measure Tuesday. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed it into law Wednesday morning. It will go into effect December 2.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign legislation for his state November 20. It will take effect June 1. (CNN)

With Hawaii and Illinois the total number of states recognizing same0-sex marriage is 16, plus the District of Columbia. Here’s the list in order of effective date, showing when effective and how it happened:

  1. Massachusetts/May 2004/Courts
  2. California/June 2008-November 2008, June 2013/Courts, Prop 8, SCOTUS
  3. Connecticut/November 2008/Courts & legislature
  4. District of Columbia/March 2009/City Council
  5. Iowa/April 2009/Courts
  6. Vermont/September 2009/Legislature (overrode veto)
  7. New Hampshire/January 2010/Legislature
  8. New York/July 2011/Legislature
  9. Washington/December 2012/Legislature & voters
  10. Maine/December 2012/Voters
  11. Maryland/January 2013/Legislature & voters
  12. Delaware/July 2013/Legislature
  13. Rhode Island/August 2013/Legislature
  14. Minnesota/August 2013/Legislature
  15. New Jersey/October 2013/Courts
  16. Hawaii/December 2013/Legislature
  17. Illinois/June 2014/Legislature

The above list is from information from Wikipedia.

More than half are based on legislative action, not the courts. This list accounts for 16/50 states, what about the other 34?

Here’s a list of states that have passed constitutional bans:

  1. Alaska 1998
  2. Hawaii 1998 (changed in 2013)
  3. Nebraska 2000
  4. Nevada 2002
  5. Arkansas 2004
  6. Georgia 2004
  7. Kentucky 2004
  8. Louisiana 2004
  9. Michigan 2004
  10. Mississippi 2004
  11. Missouri 2004
  12. Montana 2004
  13. North Dakota 2004
  14. Ohio 2004
  15. Oklahoma 2004
  16. Oregon 2004
  17. Utah 2004
  18. Kansas 2005
  19. Texas 2005
  20. Alabama 2006
  21. Colorado 2006
  22. Idaho 2006
  23. South Carolina 2006
  24. South Dakota 2006
  25. Tennessee 2006
  26. Virginia 2006
  27. Wisconsin 2006
  28. Arizona 2008 (a 2006 ban failed to pass)
  29. California 2008 (ruled unconstitutional in 2013)
  30. Florida 2008
  31. North Carolina 2012

So 29 states (31 less Hawaii & California), including Missouri, have constitutional bans against same-sex marriage by defining marriage between a man and a woman. Thirteen of these states passed their ban in 2004, the year same-sex marriages began in Massachusetts. Five states don’t recognize same-sex marriage, but also don’t have a constitutional ban. These rely on state law to make marriage between a man and a woman.

By the time the 2016 election I think we’ll see a different landscape from today. The poll question this week wants your take on Missouri, should we allow same-sex couples to marry before being required by the courts to do so? The poll is in the right sidebar until next Sunday morning.

– Steve Patterson

Poll: How Should Missouri Treat Marijuana?

Views on marijuana use are changing rapidly, all age groups have shown dramatic increases in support for legalizing it:

Fully 65% of Millennials –born since 1980 and now between 18 and 32 – favor legalizing the use of marijuana, up from just 36% in 2008. Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers.

Half (50%) of Boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In 1978, 47% of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17% in 1990. Since 1994, however, the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has doubled, from 24% to 50%.

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, came of age in the 1990s when there was widespread opposition to legalizing marijuana. Support for marijuana legalization among Gen X also has risen dramatically – from just 28% in 1994 to 42% a decade later and 54% currently.

The Silent Generation continues to be less supportive of marijuana legalization than younger age cohorts. But the percentage of Silents who favor legalization has nearly doubled –from 17% to 32% – since 2002. (Pew Research for People & Press

Below is the visual view of the above information.

From Pew, click image to view source
From Pew, click image to view source

Right now no state bordering Missouri allows for medical or recreational use, but Illinois may soon have medical marijuana:

The sponsor of a measure that would legalize marijuana for people like Bauer says he plans to call the plan for a vote no later than next week.

Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says his plan has the strictest regulations in the country.

Patients would only be allowed to purchase the marijuana from qualified vendors, who could only purchase from certified growers. (WUIS)

Would a neighboring state prompt a change in Jefferson City? Probably not.

The poll question this week asks how Missouri should treat marijuana, the existing illegal is one of the choices in the poll. My thoughts on Wednesday April 24th.

– Steve Patterson

Poll: Which Candidate Do You Want To Be Elected The Next U.S. Senator From Missouri?

It’s been a crazy week with national media focusing on comments made by Republican Todd Akin during a local television interview:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdisTOKom5I

Prior to Akin’s comments he held a comfortable lead over incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. Just weeks earlier Akin won the GOP primary, defeating Sarah Steelman and John Brunner. Despite calls for him to withdraw. Akin decided to remain in the race and his campaign released a new ad asking for forgiveness:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R57E3S8RO7A

The poll question this week is which of these two candidates do you want to see elected on November 6th. The poll is in the right sidebar.

 – Steve Patterson

Readers: Concealed Guns On Public Transit Is A Bad Idea

Nearly two-thirds of readers thought concealed guns on public transit was a bad idea. The original post, Poll: Concealed Weapons Allowed On Public Transit, has great comments on the topic.

The pro-conceraled gun argument goes something like this:

“I rarely ride transit but when I do I’m scared beyond belief about what might happen to me while waiting or en route. If a dark person tries something funny I want to be a hero with my gun.”

Ok, my characterization is a bit unfair but these folks sound like they’re frightened by their own shadow. They might be well trained to use their gun on a paper target in a controlled setting but I’m transit dependent and I can assure you the bus and train are not a shooting range. They cite a drop in crime in areas where concealed  guns are allowed on transit but fail to mention the similar drop in crime in other places where concealed guns aren’t allowed on transit. I’ve yet to see one independent scientific study that says conclusively that concealed guns results in a drop in crime.

The total vote count was higher than usual (160) but the percentages stayed consistent throughout the week so I don’t think any side tried to alter the results with a campaign:

Q: Concealed guns on public transit is:

  1. A bad idea 102 [62.96%]
  2. A good idea 46 [28.4%]
  3. Neither a good or bad idea 10 [6.17%]
  4. Other: 3 [1.85%]
  5. Unsure/No Opinion 1 [0.62%]

The other answers were:

  1. Are you serious? Could we be any more uncivilized?
  2. Already happening.
  3. already happening & will continue no matter what the laws are

Drinking alcohol is legal and people drink & drive, we should make that legal by the logic of these last two. The pro-gun lobby (NRA) seems to think they should be able to carry their guns anywhere and everywhere. In 2008 the US Supreme Court declared Washington D.C.’s gun law unconstitutional but conservative Justice Antonin Scolia wrote in the majority opinion:

There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment ’s right of free speech was not, see, e.g., United States v. Williams, 553 U. S. ___ (2008). Thus, we do not read the Second Amendment to protect the right of citizens to carry arms for any sort of confrontation, just as we do not read the First Amendment to protect the right of citizens to speak for any purpose. Before turning to limitations upon the individual right, however, we must determine whether the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment comports with our interpretation of the operative clause. (District of Columbia v Heller

In other words, keeping a loaded gun in your own home is protected by the constitution. That doesn’t automatically extend to everywhere outside your home. Legislators that responded to my email on this subject tell me the bill to make concealed guns on public transit in Missouri legal won’t make it out of committee…this year.

- Steve Patterson

City Hall License Office Is A Convenient Option For Many

March 31, 2012 Downtown, Featured 4 Comments

The Missouri Department of Revenue has many license offices (search list) around the metro area but I’ve found one of the most convenient is the one operated by St. Louis Collector of Revenue’s office in City Hall.

ABOVE: License office in St. Louis City Hall

Like other offices you get register your vehicle, renew plates and your driver’s license. You’ll have to wait like you do at most license offices but the lines move quickly. I’ve been twice this year, it was nice not having to drive somewhere to take care of business. Keep this office in mind next time you need a license office.

- Steve Patterson

Readers Support HB1380 Preventing Homeowner’s Associations From Banning Political Signs

March 14, 2012 Politics/Policy 1 Comment

More than half of the few who took the poll last week thought it was a good idea to prevent homeowner’s associations from restricting political signs.

Q: HB1380 would prevent homeowner’s associations from banning political signs in the state. Thoughts?

  1. Good, these associations can be way too restrictive 37 [56.06%]
  2. Bad, buy elsewhere if you don’t like the rules 18 [27.27%]
  3. Neutral 8 [12.12%]
  4. Other: 3 [4.55%]

The three “other” answers provided by readers were:

  1. of all the things for politicos to take a stand against, campaign signs?
  2. Political signs should not have a time restriction.
  3. Doesn’t the state legislature have more important things to work on?

You can read the original post and comments here.

- Steve Patterson

 

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