Ashcroft’s vow comes a month after the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the law, which required people with non-photo IDs such election cards or bank statements to swear they were who they said they were before voting.
The court said the scheme was “misleading,” “contradictory” and unconstitutional.
But Ashcroft hasn’t given up.
“I don’t care what the Supreme Court says,” he said. “You all should make the decision, the people of the state.”
It’s not clear it will work. High court judges considered an idea similar to what the bill proposes and called it “nonsensical” last month.
Such respect for the rule of law. It runs in the family.
The early morning Governor’s Ham Breakfast in the second week of the State Fair in Sedalia is the largest annual one day gathering of ostrich skin boots, tailored jeans, and silver decorated leather belts in the State of Missouri.
We’re talking menswear.
It’s an opportunity for us to photograph and (rarely, if ever) talk to a number of Missouri politicians, all in one place at the same time.
This year a number of office holders either skipped the event or managed to avoid the entrance gauntlet. Others made their way through it.
Governor Mike Parson (r).
Right wingnut swag.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r).
Eli Yokley – Morning Consult.
On a break of sorts, though he hasn’t stopped tweeting. We knew Eli way back when…
State Auditor and recently announced gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway (D):
State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D).
After covering the breakfast under the tent for 1000 people we ventured on to the State Fair grounds.
An encounter on the main drag:
A blue ribbon in the Home Economics Building:
Getting ready to judge pies:
Judging rabbits in the Poultry/Rabbit Building. Poultry during the first week of the fair, rabbits during the second week:
Various political parties have tents on the main drag promoting their candidates and ideology.
The folks at the Democratic Party tent have noted a consistent number of people this year passing by calling out and yelling “Socialists!” (among other things) at them. Yeah, sure, everyone’s a rabid capitalist until their party leader imposes tariffs to engage in a trade war and then has Congress bail out agricultural interests. We didn’t ask the occupants of the Republican tent if people were consistently yelling “Fascists!” at them. We probably should have.
“…You think they’re doing this to delay the gathering of signatures? Of course they are…”
Today the Missouri Supreme Court refused to intervene in the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruling that the Missouri ACLU’s initiative petition to reverse the anti-abortion HB 126 can move forward in the process.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r) [2019 file photo].
Today, the Missouri Supreme Court let stand the Court of Appeals holding that Secretary of State Ashcroft acted outside his legal authority by rejecting the referendum petition on Missouri’s abortion ban. This recognition that Ashcroft acted illegally should prevent him from ever again abusing his office to derail the people’s right to challenge legislation by referendum.
Unfortunately, Ashcroft is continuing to obstruct the people’s vote by dragging his feet in his quest to deny the people a say on Missouri’s extreme 8-week abortion ban. If he acted promptly, supporters could begin to gather signatures by July 18 at the latest. But Ashcroft seems intent to slow the process so that supporters will not have enough time to collect enough signatures.
“It is no secret that Ashcroft’s agenda is banning abortion in Missouri,” says Anthony Rothert, interim Executive Director at the ACLU of Missouri. “While it is fantastic that the courts have made clear that he acted illegally, he may well succeed in preventing voters from getting their say on this important issue. Ashcroft’s tenure as Missouri’s chief election officer continues to be marked by efforts to prevent Missourians from voting.”
If Ashcroft had not illegally rejected the referendum petition, then he would have had to certify the petition for signature gathering by July 18. He will not meet that deadline, which in turn denies a meaningful opportunity to collect signatures, which must be submitted by August 28.
We reject the idea that Missourians can be denied the right to a referendum because of the unlawful action of an elected official determined to take away constitutional rights. The people kept for themselves the right of referendum to safeguard Missourians from an overzealous, out-of-touch government. No matter how they would vote on the referendum, every Missourian is harmed by Ashcroft’s abuse of this office to serve his radical anti-abortion agenda.
Our fight is not over. We continue to push Ashcroft to his job by certifying ballot language by July 18. Should he fail to do so, we will not let Missourians forget that he has taken the fate of the abortion ban away from the voters of Missouri.
Ironic isn’t it? Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r) gets away with doing his job poorly. In Missouri republican circles that’s considered a feature, not a bug.
Let us be very clear. We are NOT cleared to gather signatures yet. Why? Secretary Ashcroft is obstructing the right to referendum.
The court ruled that Secretary Ashcroft acted illegally. He is now purposefully denying the right of the people to have a referendum.
The court is allowing Secretary Ashcroft to restart the clock and delay giving us ballot language until it could be too late to collect signatures.
That’s why we’ve appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court today.
Know this: If we are blocked from the ballot box because Secretary Ashcroft has run down the clock and given us, the people, no meaningful chance to gather 100,000 signatures by August 28th, we will continue to fight.
The ACLU will do whatever is necessary to make sure abortion remains legal in Missouri. The campaign will work to make sure reproductive rights are preserved across the state in any way it can.
The fight for reproductive rights does not rely on a single tool. We will see you in the streets, in the legislature, at the ballot box, and in the court room.
An entry today in the Missouri Court System Casenet after the Western District Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Missouri ACLU’s initiative petition to reverse the anti-abortion HB 126 can move forward in the process.
WD82880 – AMERICAN CIVIL LIB, APEL V JOHN ASHCROFT, RES
Mot for Rehearing/Tran to SC
motion and application; Electronic Filing Certificate of Service.
Filed By: ANTHONY EDWARD ROTHERT
On Behalf Of: AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF MISSOURI, SARA E BAKER
Mot for Rehearing/Tran to SC
Respondents Ashcroft and Schmitts Motion for Rehearing, En Banc Review, or Transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court; Electronic Filing Certificate of Service.
Filed By: DEAN JOHN SAUER
On Behalf Of: JOHN ROBERT ASHCROFT, ERIC SCHMITT
You think they’re doing this to delay the gathering of signatures? Of course they are…
The Missouri ACLU’s initiative petition to reverse the anti-abortion HB 126 can move forward in the process.
“We will not go back”
Jay Ashcroft (r) [2017 file photo].
Today at the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals WD82880 [pdf]:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Sara E. Baker (collectively “ACLU”) appeal a trial court judgment dismissing its verified petition with prejudice and denying pending motions in a proceeding where the ACLU sought a temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and declaratory relief from State officials after a referendum petition sample sheet was rejected. The Secretary of State exceeded his statutory authority by rejecting the sample sheet on constitutional grounds at a point when the Secretary of State’s authority was limited by section 116.332 to review of the sample sheet for sufficiency as to form.
1. The Secretary of State’s authority to review a referendum petition sample sheet for sufficiency as to form pursuant to section 116.332 does not extend to determining compliance with the constitution and is limited to determining substantial compliance with the form requirements set forth in section 116.030.
2. The Secretary of State was obligated to approve the ACLU’s sample sheet as sufficient as to form as no issues with compliance with section 116.030 were identified.
3. Though a writ of mandamus could have been sought to compel the Secretary of State to approve the ACLU’s sample sheet as sufficient as to form, permanent mandatory injunctive relief is also available to compel the Secretary of State to withdraw rejection of, and to approve, the sample sheet.
4. Rule 84.14 directs this court to give such judgment as the court ought to give. Judgment is entered compelling the Secretary of State to approve the ACLU’s sample sheet.
Jefferson City, Mo. — Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft today rejected the third referendum petition on House Bill 126 for failing to comply with the Missouri Constitution. On May 17, 2019, the legislature passed HB126. The Governor signed HB126 on May 24 which included an “emergency clause,” a section that made a portion of the law effective immediately.
“The Constitution of Missouri may not be changed – and never has been changed – without a vote of the people,” Ashcroft said.
Approving a referendum petition in which a portion of the law is already in effect would set a new precedent in Missouri. Although the Missouri Constitution (Article III, Section 49) states the people may approve or reject by referendum any “act” of the general assembly, never in Missouri history has a secretary of state approved a referendum petition in which a portion of the law was already in effect. Additionally, a secretary of state has never approved a referendum of only a portion of an act of the legislature.
A small number of state constitutions provide an option to refer a portion of a law to the people for a vote, but Missouri does not have that option. As an example, the Maryland Constitution provides for a referendum of “any Act, or part of any Act” of the general assembly. In Oregon, a referendum on an “Act or part thereof” may be ordered by a petition. The State of Washington’s Constitution allows for a referendum of “all or part of any act, bill, or law” passed by the legislature. The Constitution of Arizona provides for a referendum of “any item, section, or part of any measure” and allows for the rest of the measure to become law.
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” – Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
Section 52(a). A referendum may be ordered (except as to laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and laws making appropriations for the current expenses of the state government, for the maintenance of state institutions and for the support of public schools) either by petitions signed by five percent of the legal voters in each of two-thirds of the congressional districts in the state, or by the general assembly, as other bills are enacted. Referendum petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state not more than ninety days after the final adjournment of the session of the general assembly which passed the bill on which the referendum is demanded.
Source: Const. of 1875, Art. IV, § 57.
Uh, the Maryland, Oregon, Arizona, etc. state Constitutions have nothing to do with Missouri.
“…it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less…”
“…Referendum petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state not more than ninety days after the final adjournment of the session of the general assembly which passed the bill on which the referendum is demanded.”
The petition has to be filled not more than ninety days after the final adjournment of the General Assembly which passed the law. That’s it. There’s no restriction if the law is in “effect” or not at the time the petition is filled.
So, Jay, tell us who’s trying to rewrite the Missouri Constitution without a vote of the people?
Jefferson City, Mo. — Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft today held a press conference to announce the rejection of two referendum petitions for failing to comply with the Missouri Constitution.
On May 17, 2019, the legislature passed HB126, called the “Heartbeat Bill”. The Governor signed HB126 on May 24, which included a section that made a portion of the law effective immediately. It stated: “Because of the need to protect the health and safety of women and their children, both unborn and born, the repeal and reenactment of section 188.028 of this act is deemed necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, peace and safety and is hereby declared to be an emergency act within the meaning of the constitution, and the repeal and reenactment of section 188.028 of this act shall be in full force and effect upon its passage and approval.” This emergency clause was approved, as required in Article III, Section 29 of the Constitution, by two-thirds of the legislature.
Article III of the Constitution reserves the people’s power to approve or reject acts of the legislature, called a referendum, which may occur on bills passed by the House and Senate. To begin the referendum process, a referendum petition must be filed with the Secretary of State not less than 90 days after the end of the legislative session during which the bill was approved. Once filed, the referendum petition is examined by the Secretary of State, and transmitted to the Attorney General and Auditor for review. State law requires the Secretary of State to approve or reject a petition. If approved, the referendum petition may be circulated for signatures, and will be placed on the ballot of the next general election if it meets the signature requirements as described in Article III, Section 52(a) of the constitution.
There are certain limits to the people’s right to a referendum. Specifically, Article III, Section 52(a) makes exceptions for “laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and laws making appropriations for the current expenses of the state government, for the maintenance of state institutions and for the support of public schools.”
Because the legislature approved HB126 and its emergency clause with the constitutionally-required two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature, HB126 may not be referred to the people.
Apparently the emergency is that women in Missouri aren’t supposed to have the autonomy to make their own health care decisions.
This will go to court.
Alison Dreith @alidreith
Denying the people their constitutional right to referendum is a sad and cynical ploy, but it is not surprising given that HB126’s entire purpose is to elevate the legislature above constitutional rights. The @aclu_mo will see @MissouriSOS @JayAshcroftMO in court.
[….] 11:46 AM – 6 Jun 2019
June 6, 2019 – 12:00pm
Statement attributed to Tony Rothert, Acting Executive Director, ACLU of Missouri
The Missouri constitution gives citizens the right to veto a newly enacted law by referendum.
Secretary of State John Ashcroft is caught up in Missouri politicians’ longing to be the first state in the nation to ban abortion. Predictably, he is trying to deprive Missourians’ of their right to weigh in on the abortion question with a vote.
Denying the people their constitutional right to referendum is a sad and cynical ploy, but it is not surprising given that HB126’s entire purpose is to elevate the legislature above constitutional rights.
This cowardly move by the Secretary of State proves that Missouri’s anti-abortion zealots understand that they’re acting against the wishes of the majority. They hope to short-circuit the people’s vote because they know they will lose if the people get their say.
This move is so predictable, we’ve already assembled our suit to require the Secretary of State to put aside his anti-abortion agenda and do his job by certifying the referendum.
From Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s (r) campaign committee:
C151004: Ashcroft For Missouri
Committee Type: Candidate
Po Box 1554
Jefferson City Mo 65102
Party Affiliation: Republican
Established Date: 01/06/2015
Information Reported On: 2019 – April Quarterly Report
Beginning Money on Hand $113,246.70
Monetary Receipts + $95,700.00
Monetary Expenditures – $2,793.96
Contributions Made – $75.00
Other Disbursements – $0.00
Ending Money On Hand $206,077.74
Not a lot in expenditures. 2022 is a while away.
About those small contributions:
MISSOURI ETHICS COMMISSION
CONTRIBUTIONS AND LOANS RECEIVED
Ashcroft For Missouri 4/15/2019
13. TOTAL MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED FROM PERSONS GIVING $100 OR LESS $150.00
14. TOTAL IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED FROM PERSONS (NOT COMMITTEES) GIVING $100 OR LESS $60.00
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (Dec. 14, 2018) State Auditor Nicole Galloway today responded to the request by Secretary Jay Ashcroft for assistance in investigating a complaint against the Attorney General. The complaint alleges Attorney General Josh Hawley used public funds to support his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. A routine closeout audit of the Attorney General’s Office will begin after Attorney General Hawley officially resigns.
“The goal of an independent audit is to get to the truth for taxpayers and not to proceed based on assumptions,” Auditor Galloway said. “My office will review these concerns with heightened scrutiny.”
It’s nice to have a real State Auditor.
The letter [pdf] from State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r):
Nicole R. Galloway, CPA
Missouri State Auditor
December 14, 2018
The Honorable John R. Ashcroft
Secretary of State
James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center
600 W. Main Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Re: Closeout audit of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office
Dear Secretary Ashcroft:
In your letter dated December 10, 2018, you requested my office investigate, as part of or routine closeout audit, whether Attorney general Josh Hawley used public funds while Attorney general in support of hi candidacy for the U.S Senate. In that letter, you also offered to provide documents to my office and requested access to audit records, as well s access to audit discussions with employees and third-parties related to the allegations of improper use of state resources.
Based on you letter, I understand that you have determined that the allegations in the American Democracy League Fund complaint are not frivolous, and are proceeding with an investigation. We appreciate your offer to provide documentation obtained in the course of your investigation. My office will be reaching out to your office to request these documents.
As you noted, the State Auditor’s Office always reviews use of taxpayer funds in audits. The same is true of any closeout audit of a statewide office holder. Based on the concerns expressed in your letter, my office will review the allegation with heightened scrutiny.
A closeout audit will begin when the term of the prior officer has ended – here, after Attorney general Hawley officially resigns. Attorney General Hawley’s administration will be the subject of the audit, but the auditee will be both Attorney general Hawley and appointed Attorney General Eric Schmitt. As such, document requests to that office will be directed to and processed by incoming Attorney General Schmitt.
Missouri law permits us to share with you records in matters officially before your office. In conducting an audit, we must comply with Government Auditing Standards established by the Comptroller General of the United States, as well as Missouri law. We look forward to discussing those parameters with your office.
My Chief of Staff, Michael Moorefield, will be contacting your office in the coming days.
Nicole Galloway, CPA
cc: The Honorable Josh Hawley, Missouri Attorney General
The Honorable Eric Schmitt, Missouri State Treasurer