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One week from Tuesday, about three million Missourians will step into a ballot booth, draw the curtain, and do their part to elect a new president and governor. But also appearing on every ballot will be three propositions which, if passed, will change Missouri law. In our special election series, “Know Your Ballot,” KSMU’s Jennifer Moore explains these initiatives, one by one. Today, we take a look at the “ins” and “outs” of Proposition B.
Raise your hand if you don’t quite understand Proposition B.
You’re not alone.
And yet, if you’re a Missouri voter, you’ll be asked to vote “Yes” or “No” on the proposition next Tuesday.
In short, Proposition B pertains to home care workers and the services they offer under Missouri’s Medicaid program. Home care workers are those who assist the elderly and those with disabilities in their homes.
If you vote “Yes” on Proposition B, you’ll be voting to create the Missouri Quality Homecare Council. So why is this council seen as necessary in the first place, and what would it do exactly?
Supporters of Prop B says it would better organize, recruit, and train Missouri’s home care workers. They say this would ultimately result in better home care for the elderly and disabled, who rely on these workers through the Medicaid system.
Krissi Jimroglou is the spokesperson for Missourians For Quality Homecare, a group supporting Proposition B.
Jimroglou says the high turnover rate among home care workers results in poor services, and causes many elderly Missourian to have to go into nursing homes. That, she says, is a more expensive option than living independently.
She says the council which Proposition B would create would make it much easier for the elderly and disabled to find a qualified home care attendant. It would create a registry, she says, which would allow individuals to call a hotline and get connected immediately with an attendant.
But opponents of Proposition B believe it is simply a measure intended to make it easier for home care workers to unionize. Trey Davis, vice president of Governmental Affairs in the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, says this is a major concern.
He says the measure would lower the threshold of how many workers it would take to hold an election to unionize.
Proposition B would also make it easier for those home care workers—if they do unionize—to engage in collective bargaining through the newly-formed council. Davis says that would not be in the best interest of Missouri businesses and the state.
Lastly, Davis said opponents of Proposition B feel the language on the ballot is misleading, and that it doesn’t shed light on the power the measure would immediately grant this particular group of workers.
Meanwhile, supporters of Proposition B, including Krissi Jimroglou, agree that it will make it easier for the home care workforce to hold an election on whether to form a union. But, she adds this is a group of state workers that she says is severely underpaid and receives no state benefits. That, in turn, she says, affects the people they are trying to serve.
Proposition B would cost the state at least 500,000 dollars annually, but it would have no impact on taxes.
The two leading candidates for governor have already said which way they will vote on Proposition B next Tuesday: Democrat Jay Nixon says he will vote “Yes.” Republican Kenny Hulshof will vote “No.”
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.