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Dotson v. Kander

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

July 18, 2014

D. SAMUEL DOTSON III AND REBECCA MORGAN, Appellants,
v.
JASON KANDER, MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE, SENATOR KURT SCHAEFER, ET AL., Respondents. Consolidated with JENNIFER M. JOYCE AND JEAN PETERS-BAKER, Appellants,
v.
TOM DEMPSEY, ET AL., Respondents

Argued and Submitted July 14, 2014

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COLE COUNTY. The Honorable Jon E. Beetem, Judge.

Dotson and Morgan were represented by Charles W. Hatfield and Khristine A. Heisinger of Stinson Leonard Street LLP in Jefferson City.

Joyce and Peters-Baker were represented by Heidi Doerhooff Vollet of Cook, Vetter, Doerhoff & Landwehr PC in Jefferson City, and Burton W. Newman of Burton Newman PC in Clayton.

Secretary of State Kander was represented by Solicitor General James R. Layton, Deputy Solicitor General Jeremiah J. Morgan and Jonathan M. Hensley of the attorney general's office in Jefferson City.

President Pro Tem Dempsey and Senator Ron Richard were represented by Marc H. Ellinger of Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch LC in Jefferson City.

Speaker Tim Jones was represented by James B. Deutsch of Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch LC in Jefferson City and Deputy General Counsel David H. Welch of the Missouri House of Representatives in Jefferson City.

Senator Schaefer of the Missouri Senate in Jefferson City, represented himself. Missourians Protecting the 2nd Amendment was represented by David G. Brown of Brown Law Office LC in Columbia.

OPINION

Page 644

Per Curiam.

The Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Joint Resolution 36 (SJR 36) was truly agreed and finally passed by the General Assembly on May 7, 2014.[1] The secretary of state certified the official ballot title on June 13, and it was placed on the August 5 state primary election ballot, pursuant to the governor's decision calling for a special election on SJR 36.

On the same day the ballot title was certified, D. Samuel Dotson III and Rebecca Morgan filed suit in Cole County Circuit Court challenging the sufficiency and fairness of the summary statement pursuant to section 116.190.[2] They later added a claim that section 116.190 was unconstitutional. Jennifer M. Joyce and Jean Peters-Baker also filed a separate petition challenging the fairness and sufficiency of the summary statement in the ballot title.

The trial court consolidated the two cases and addressed the cross motions for judgment on the pleadings as there were no factual disputes. It issued a judgment on July 1, determining that the cases were moot because section 115.125.2 prohibits changes to a ballot title within six weeks of the election. In the alternative, the trial court found the ballot summary was fair and ...


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