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Judge Rejects Initiative Petitions

A group supporting initiative petitions related to eminent domain and government spending lost in court Monday. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

A group supporting initiative petitions related to eminent domain and government spending lost in court Monday.

At issue was whether or not Secretary of State Robin Carnahan was right in rejecting the initiative petitions because they were not numbered sequentially by county as required by law.

Cole County Judge Richard Callahan agreed with Carnahan.

The group Missourians in Charge turned in the petitions and Patrick Tuohey is the group's chairman.

Tuohey contends the mistakes were clerical and not serious enough to disqualify the petitions.

Mike Seitz is deputy director of communications for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Seitz says the Secretary of State's office was simply following the law.

Besides the issue of numbering the petitions, the Secretary of State's office cited an additional problem with the eminent domain petition.

It contained an old financial summary that the courts had tossed out previously.

Monday's court ruling agreed with the Secretary of State's position that the outdated financial summary was an additional reason to reject the petition.

Tuohey says this ruling puts initiative petitions at the mercy of anyone who wants to contest the ballot language they contain.

He says that precedent is especially harmful when you consider that state officials, not petitioners write the ballot language.

Tuohey says the court ruling has implications for all future initiative petitions.

He says he plans to appeal the ruling as soon as today.

Some groups say they're glad the court ruled against the initiative petition related to government spending.

The amendment would require state lawmakers to go to the voters if they want to spend money that goes above a pre-determined limit.

Amy Blouin is executive director of the Missouri Budget Project.

But supporters of the amendment say voters need to have a say when it comes to how much of their money the government spends.

Patrick Tuohey, chairman of Missourians in Charge says it's a reasonable balance to the spending power of the legislature.

Touhey says he expects the appeals court to act quickly since he's aiming to get the two issues on the November ballot.