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Early voting underway in Oregon County

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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Early voting is underway, and the Tuesday, Nov. 6 General Election is just days away. Residents will be given the option to vote for national, state and county leaders, along with some important statewide referendums.

On the Oregon County ballot, voters will find four "referendums and ballot measures." County races include; Associate Commissioner District 2- Brad Vest or Edward Casey, Associate Commissioner District 1 -- John "Big John" Wrenfrow or Jason Kemper, Sheriff -- George Underwood, David Bailey or Michael Bunting, Assessor -- Charles Alford or Russell Grooms and Public Administrator -- Mike Harber or Mike Crawford.

Constitutional Amendment No. 3: Selection of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges, will be up for a vote. The amendment reads, "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the current nonpartisan selection of supreme court and court of appeals judges to a process that gives the governor increased authority to: appoint a majority of the commission that selects these court nominees and appoint all lawyers to the commission by removing the requirement that the governor's appointees be non-lawyers? There are no estimated costs or savings expected if this proposal is approved by voters."

The first of three propositions is Proposition A: Transferring Certain Obligations and Control of the City's Police Force and reads, "Shall Missouri law be amended to: allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis) the option of transferring certain obligations and control of the city's police force from the board of police commissioners currently appointed by the governor to the city and establishing a municipal police force, establish certain procedures and requirements for governing such a municipal police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits, insurance, and pension and prohibit retaliation against any employee of such municipal police force who reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government agency, or the press? State governmental entities estimated savings will eventually be up to $500,000 annually. Local governmental entities estimated annual potential savings of $3.5 million; however, consolidation decisions with an unknown outcome may result in the savings being more or less than estimated."

Proposition B: Create the Health and Education Trust Fund has created the most interest and debate, since it seeks to raise the tobacco tax. It reads, Shall Missouri law be amended to: create the Health and Education Trust Fund with proceeds of a tax of $0.0365 per cigarette and 25% of the manufacturer's invoice price for roll your- own tobacco and 15% for other tobacco products, use Fund proceeds to reduce and prevent tobacco use and for elementary, secondary, college, and university public school funding and increase the amount that certain tobacco product manufacturers must maintain in their escrow accounts, to pay judgments or settlements, before any funds in escrow can be refunded to the tobacco product manufacturer and create bonding requirements for these manufacturers? Estimated additional revenue to state government is $283 million to $423 million annually with limited estimated implementation costs or savings. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown. Escrow fund changes may result in unknown increase in future state revenue.

Proposition E: Affordable Health Care Plans through a State-Based Health Benefit Exchange reads, "Shall Missouri law be amended to deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state-based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum or through an exchange operated by the federal government as required by the federal health care act? No direct costs or savings for state and local governmental entities are expected from this proposal. Indirect costs or savings related to enforcement actions, missed federal funding, avoided implementation costs, and other issues are unknown."

Early voting will continue at the courthouse from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1 and 2. On Saturday, Nov. 3, early voting will be offered from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 5 early voting will end at 5:00 p.m. Polls for Nov. 6 voting will open at 6:00 a.m.



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