Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Kansas City v. Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

January 17, 2017

CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
KANSAS CITY BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS, ET AL., Defendants, REV. SAMUEL E. MANN, ET AL., Appellants.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY The Honorable Justine E. Del Muro, Judge

          Paul C. Wilson, Judge

         The City of Kansas City (the "City") filed this action seeking to have the trial court order the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners and other local election authorities serving the City (collectively, the "Local Election Authorities") to remove from the November 3, 2015, ballot a proposed ordinance establishing a minimum wage for Kansas City. The City claims that the ordinance - if enacted - would contradict a state statute. Reverend Samuel Mann and other individuals (collectively, the "Committee") had proposed this ordinance using the initiative petition provisions of the Kansas City Charter. The Committee intervened in the City's action to argue that the proposal should remain on the ballot and now appeals the trial court's judgment ordering that the measure be removed. The Committee claims that the statute cited by the City is unconstitutional. This Court has jurisdiction over the Committee's appeal under article V, section 3, of the Missouri Constitution. The trial court's judgment is reversed on the ground that the City's claim and the Committee's claim are premature. Accordingly, the City is ordered to take all steps necessary to have the Committee's proposed ordinance placed before City voters in accordance with the City Charter.

         Background

         Utilizing the initiative petition process set forth in the City Charter, the Committee gathered signatures for a proposed ordinance establishing a minimum wage for Kansas City and submitted that proposal to the Kansas City Council (the "City Council"). See Kansas City Charter §§ 701-02. When the City Council failed to adopt the proposed ordinance, the Committee exercised its right under the Charter to insist that the proposal be submitted to City voters. Id. §§ 702-03. On August 20, 2015, the City Council directed the city clerk to give notice to the Local Election Authorities that the proposed minimum wage ordinance should be submitted to City voters on November 3, 2015, at a special election to be called for that purpose.

         On September 18, 2015, the City filed a "Petition for Removal of a Ballot Question Pursuant to § 115.127.3 [RSMo Supp. 2013], " seeking a court order directing the Local Election Authorities to remove the proposed minimum wage ordinance from the ballot. In support of this petition, the City argued that - if adopted - the proposed ordinance would be invalid because it would conflict with section 285.055, [1] which prohibits local governments from enacting (after August 28, 2015) local minimum wage requirements greater than those imposed by state and federal laws. The validity of the proposed minimum wage ordinance under section 285.055 is the sole basis asserted in the City's petition for removing the proposal from the ballot.

         On September 22, the Committee sought and was granted leave to intervene. In its answer, the Committee asserted an affirmative defense that section 285.055 would not render the minimum wage ordinance (assuming the voters approved it) invalid because House Bill 722, by which the General Assembly had enacted section 285.055, was unconstitutional. On September 24, a bench trial was held. Because the facts were not disputed, the proceedings focused on the parties' legal arguments.

         The City argued that, if the local minimum wage proposal were approved by City voters, the resulting ordinance would be invalid because it would conflict with section 285.055. The Committee responded that section 285.055 is invalid - not the proposed minimum wage ordinance - because section 285.055 was enacted as part of House Bill 722, which it claims violated the single subject and clear title requirements (and the change of purpose prohibition) in article III, sections 21 and 23 of the Missouri Constitution. But the Committee argued that the trial court should reject the City's petition without reaching the Committee's constitutional challenge to section 285.055 because that challenge, and the City's challenge to the validity of the proposed minimum wage ordinance, are not ripe unless and until the City voters approve that ordinance. Only then, the Committee argued, would it be proper for a court to consider whether the ordinance was preempted by section 285.055 and whether section 285.055 had been enacted in violation of the various bill passage requirements in the Missouri Constitution.

         On September 22, the trial court entered judgment for the City. The trial court declared that the proposed minimum wage ordinance "is inconsistent with [section 285.055] and is therefore unconstitutional, on its face. See, Missouri Constitution, article VI, § 19(a)."[2] Accordingly, the trial court ordered the Local Election Authorities to "strike or remove [the proposed minimum wage ordinance] from the November 3, 2015, ballot[.]" The Committee timely appeals.

         Analysis

         I. This Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction

         Under article V, section 3 of the Missouri Constitution, this Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving the validity of a state statute. The Committee contends that its appeal is properly before this Court because it timely and properly raised a constitutional challenge to the validity of section 285.055 in its answer. The City concedes that the Committee properly raised a constitutional challenge to the validity of section 285.055 as an affirmative defense but argues that this Court does not have exclusive appellate jurisdiction because the trial court did not explicitly address the Committee's challenge in its judgment.

         The City is correct that the trial court did not explicitly address and reject the Committee's affirmative defense in its judgment. But, by entering judgment for the City, the trial court is deemed to have reached - and rejected - the Committee's affirmative defenses, including its defense that section 285.055 was unconstitutional. See State ex rel. State Highway Comm'n v. Wiggins, 454 S.W.2d 899, 901-02 (Mo. banc 1970) (holding that "in the absence of evidence to the contrary, a general judgment for one party involves a finding in that party's favor on all issues properly before the court"). Therefore, this case properly falls within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of this Court. Boeving v. Kander, 496 S.W.3d 498, 503 (Mo. banc 2016) ("[W]here any party properly raises and preserves in the trial court a real and substantial (as opposed to merely colorable) claim that a statute is unconstitutional, this Court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over any appeal in which that claim may need to be resolved."). The fact that this Court does not, in resolving the appeal, reach the merits of the Committee's constitutional claim does not remove its appeal from this Court's exclusive appellate jurisdiction. Id.

         II. Substantive challenges to the validity of the proposed ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.