Jefferson City, MO, May 29, 2015 – A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 672, passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2014, was filed in Cole County circuit court on May 29th.
The lawsuit claims that the General Assembly ignored the constitutional limits to their legislative authority. The Missouri Constitution includes clauses that prohibit legislators from changing the purpose of a bill, including multiple subjects in one bill, or passing a “special law” that fails to treat everyone equally. The lawsuit claims lawmakers violated all three provisions and asks the court to strike down the entire bill.
Additionally, the lawsuit seeks to establish “citizen standing” in court to make such legal challenges. Courts currently recognize “taxpayer standing”, or the right of taxpaying citizens to sue when the law being challenged somehow affects the taxes he pays, but “standing” is not guaranteed a citizen if neither taxation nor government expenditures affect him.
If the “citizen standing” claim is recognized by the courts, the door will be opened for similar suits even when the laws being challenged don’t affect the taxes of the person filing the lawsuit.
The plaintiff in the challenge is Ron Calzone, a political activist and one of the founding directors of Missouri First, Inc., a think tank devoted to promoting constitutional governance. Although not an attorney, Calzone filed the suit “pro se” (Latin, “for oneself”), in part to demonstrate that the abuses by the General Assembly are so blatant that even a non-lawyer can succeed in legal challenges against some of their bills. He also hopes that it will encourage other citizens to bring similar challenges as long as the General Assembly refuses to abide by the constitutional limits on their powers.
Details about the lawsuit and the bill being challenged can be found at http://www.mofirst.org/?page=lawsuits/2014-SB672/2014-SB672-Challenge.php
Written by Ron Calzone
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