Were you aware there are several Constitutional Amendments on the Missouri ballot next month? Many people do not. Only one proposed amendment is getting any attention because it affects education. That one amendment strikes at the education unions, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and their embedded group of administrators and school board members that I call ‘the Education Mafia.’
I’ll speak more about that amendment later, but first let’s examine each amendment in numerical order. The amendments are numbered: #2, #3, #6 and #10. If you would like to do some personal research, follow this link at www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2014ballot/ and page down past August to the November ballot issues.
The first one, Constitutional Amendment 2, is to restore the ability to use a defendant’s past history as evidence. The defendant’s personal history, if he has a ‘propensity’ to act in a particular manner, would be usable in some cases. The federal government and thirty-three states allow ‘propensity evidence‘, sometimes call ‘character evidence,’ in court. Missouri’s Supreme Court struck down the use of such evidence in 2007.
This amendment allows propensity evidence to be used again in specific cases—sexual offenses against minors. If the amendment is passed, such evidence can be presented in court if the Judge examines the evidence and rules if it is appropriate to the case. For instance, a history of kiting checks would likely not be allowed in a sexual offense trial unless the writing of fraudulent checks can be linked to the sexual offense—difficult, if at all possible. However, other prior offenses that can be linked to other sexual offenses, may be presented if the Judge agrees. Prosecutors across the state are in favor of this amendment.
I recommend voting, “Yes!” on Amendment #2.
Constitution Amendment 3 has the education unions and the Education Mafia up in arms. Why? Because it looses the stricture imposed by tenure. Teachers can be easily fired—and are fired, within the first five years in their positions. After five years of continued employment, they may apply for tenure.
Usually tenure is granted. Thereafter, it is nearly impossible to fire the teacher—or administrator even with extensive documentation. Amendment 3 provides another process to remove ineffective teachers and to support and promote good teachers. How? By performance. This amendment will allow school board to evaluate teachers and administrators by performance, not by longevity.
I’m not surprised the unions, administrators and union shills are screaming. It makes educators accountable by their demonstrated performance. The unions scream it means testing. That’s one method. It isn’t, however, the only method. But testing is one means of determining performance and school boards are free to use testing—or other quality measurements, as justification to remove ineffective teachers, administrators, or to reward good, effective teachers.
In short, it introduces accountability in education and that is what has the unions and the education mafia up in arms. Frankly, anything that constrains tenure and enforces accountability is a step in the right direction. For education, whenever the unions scream, you know it will improve the final product, the knowledge base of our children.
Constitutional Amendment #3 was sponsored by a citizen’s initiative, not through the legislature. With the power of the education lobby, this amendment would never be presented much less passed. we’re fortunate we have the ability to propose Constitutional Amendment without passage through Jeff City.
I recommend voting, “Yes!” on Amendment #3.
Constitutional Amendment #6 is an attempt to legalize one method of vote fraud—early voting. You remember the old adage, ‘vote early, vote often’? This would allow that by loosening the current absentee voting law. The way fraud happens is that Joe Blow votes early, then he shows up on election day and votes again. County clerks don’t cross-reference early voters on the rolls sent to the polls. There is nothing to prevent a voter who voted early from voting again. Once a ballot has been run through the voting machine, who can tell if that vote was proper or not?
County clerks are supposed to require justification for absentee ballots. How many do so? I know my current democrat county clerks does not. Consequently, this is a bad amendment. It allows more vote fraud. I recommend voting, “No!”
Constitutional Amendment #10 is complicated and concerns the ability of the Governor to withhold funds appropriated by the Legislature. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has a line-item veto for the state budget and he used it heavily in the last legislative session. When the Legislature returned, a significant amount of those line-item vetos were overturned.
The Governor may, if there is a shortfall in state revenues, justify withholding funds at his discretion. However, democrat Jay Nixon has been withholding funds, usually from education, when no shortfall in revenue exists to justify withholding the funds. This amendment corrects some of the loopholes that currently exists that allows the Governor to abuse his power.
Missouri State Senator Ed Emery provided this description of Amendment 10. From his October 10th, 2014 legislative update…
(Proposed by the General Assembly.)
This amendment clarifies expectations on how a governor should prepare his annual budget proposal. It also provides a check on any governor who tries to manipulate budget withholdings for political purposes. Frustration with the current governor’s approach to budgeting and spending demands that something be done to prevent similar abuses in the future. If Amendment 10 passes, a governor is prevented from counting his chickens before they are hatched. He/she could not forecast revenues, for example, based on the anticipation that the General Assembly will pass a tax increase— it has been done.
Amendment 10 also provides a path for the Legislature to override a governor’s operating fund withholdings similar to the procedure now employed to override a veto. Abuses to the governor’s power to withhold funds make it necessary to provide a check and balance on behalf of those agencies that are being used as political pawns.
Senator Emery recommends we vote, “Yes!” on this amendment. I agree. For years we’ve heard the democrats and the education mafia claim we’re not spending enough on education. It’s a lie. The legislature has appropriated more than enough funds—it has been the democrat governor, Jay Nixon, who has been withholding funds from education.
When you enter the voting booth in two weeks and see the list of proposed amendments, remember to vote, Yes, Yes, NO, and Yes for Amendments 2, 3, 6, and 10. Or, vote yes for all except for #6.
See you at the polls.