Missouri voters back constitutional “right to farm”, oppose new tax for roads

A measure backed by Missouri’s agricultural commodity and business groups to enshrine a “right to farm” in the state Constitution passed Tuesday night by a thin margin.

The amendment to the state’s constitution adds “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices.” The measure includes a provision that would essentially seal local regulations on agriculture at the current status quo.

Pointing to past efforts to further regulate the industry, supporters argued the amendment would protect farmers from “out of state” interests concerned about environmental issues and animal rights.

But its opponents — made up of environmentalists and some small family farmers — argued the vagueness of the measure could actually expand the power of “out of state” interests such as corporate farmers and foreign entities that seek to own more American agricultural land.


Missouri voters opted against raising state sales taxes by three-quarters of 1 percent for the next decade to raise money for roads and transportation projects.

The measure would have raised taxes by $4.8 billion for the Missouri Department of Transportation to divide among its seven regions, and another $540 million for local governments in the time period.


Missouri voters opted to strengthen the rights of gun owners are already enshrined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by adopting Amendment No 5.

The amendment adds to the state constitution “that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right.”

In addition to the traditional Second Amendment “right to bear arms” protections, the Missouri amendment seeks to specifically protect ammunition and “accessories typical to the normal function of such arms.” The amendment carves out convicted felons and those deemed by a court to be of a danger to themselves from the “unalienable” protections.

The measure requires state courts to apply the most stringent form of judicial review to gun laws, making it harder for their supporters to have them upheld.

The amendment’s supporters have expressed concerns about the potential for new federal restrictions on the purchase and production of guns and ammunition, as well as their fear that the federal government might some day want to restrict ownership.

Opponents, including law enforcement officials from St. Louis and Kansas City, have expressed concerns that the measure would give defense attorneys more opportunity to challenge restrictions already in place such as guns in churches or schools, or requirements for training before someone can obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.


Missouri voters rejected a measure that would have allowed the Missouri Lottery Commission to “develop and begin selling a ‘Veterans Lottery Ticket.’” Amendment No. 8 would have required “all net proceeds received from the sales of such tickets shall be deposited solely into the veterans commission capital improvement trust fund.”

Legislators argued the measure would have supplied an additional $3 million to the trust fund specifically for veterans, but opponents expressed concerns it could take away money from education, pitting aging veterans against learning kids. Last year, the Missouri Lottery contributed $228.8 million to education, part of $4 billion since the program began.


Missouri voters adopted an amendment to Missouri’s Constitution that will add a person’s electronic communication and data under protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures performed by the government.

This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court began to move in Amendment No. 9’s direction. It ruled that law enforcement would have to obtain a warrant to search cellphones obtained incident to arrest, but did not address the broader question of data privacy.

The Missouri amendment would expand that to all forms of electronic communication — things such as emails, text messages, and cloud storage.

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