Yesterday the Missouri Secretary of State announced the questions that had gathered enough signatures on initiative petitions to be put on the ballot in 2014. Absent from the list were the several proposals (Initiative 2014-047 and the nearly identical 2014-048) to end merit selection in the state.
Question #79 keeps the state’s judicial retention elections but requires that the judges receive a 2/3rds “yes” vote to be retained. Somewhat confusingly, Question #79 would apply to the judicial races on the November 4, 2014 general election ballot, the same election that would determine passage of Question #79 itself.
The second item, Question #94 (described by proponents as the “Honest Judge Amendment”), would disband the state’s Commission on Judicial Discipline and transfer discipline of judges to the state’s Independent Ethics Commission. Discipline would also be expanded to include any act by a judge that “may be otherwise subject to appellate review.” The Independent Ethics Commission under Question #94 would be free to ignore any appellate rulings in a case at will and allows the reopening of previously dismissed complaints. On May 29, the state Supreme Court affirmed the Title Board’s description of Question #94.
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning regulation of judicial conduct and, in connection therewith, transferring jurisdiction over judicial discipline and disability to the independent ethics commission from the commission on judicial discipline and specifying that such jurisdiction includes review of claims of violations of the Colorado code of judicial conduct and claims of disability, as well as complaints that were previously dismissed by the commission on judicial discipline?
86,105 signatures on Questions #79 and #94 must be turned in by August 4, 2014.