St. Louis City Charter Article VI Referendum*
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Official printed copies of St. Louis Missouri City Charter may be obtained from the Register's Office at the St. Louis City Hall.
City Counselor Ops.: 10290
Section 1 When to be exercised.
The people shall have power, at their option, to approve or reject at the polls any ordinance (except it be an emergency measure as defined in section 20 of article IV), such power being known as the referendum and to be invoked and exercised as herein provided.
An ordinance for public improvements outside city limits is legislative and subject to the referendum. State v. Edwards, 266 S.W. 127, 305 Mo. 431 (1924).
A proposition seeking the repeal of an ordinance and proposing a new ordinance in lieu thereof was held to be a referendum required to meet the requirements of Charter, Art. VI. State ex rel. St. Louis Regional Health Care Corp. v. Wamser, 735 S.W. 2d 741 (1987).
Initiative and referendum are essentially different. Initiative is the proposal of legislation by the public. It has no need for tune limits and warrants a lesser initial support to justify submission to the voters. Referendum is the overturning of legislation enacted by the representatives of the people. It requires strict time limits so as not to unduly delay the effectiveness of duly enacted legislation and warrants a greater showing of initial support. The two are not, by their very nature interchangeable. State ex rel. St. Louis Regional Health Care Corp. v. Wamser, 735 S.W. 2d 741 (1987).
16.48--16.70 Initiative and Referendum
Section 2 Petition required; reconsideration of ordinance; submission to voters.
If within thirty days after the approval by the mayor of any ordinance (not an emergency measure) or its adoption over his veto, there is filed with the board of election commissioners a petition purporting to be signed by registered voters equal in number to two percent of all registered voters of the city at the time of the last preceding regular mayoralty election, requesting that said ordinance be reconsidered and rejected or referred, then said board shall certify that fact to the register and said ordinance shall not take effect except as hereinafter provided. Within ten days after such filing the said board shall find and certify the number of registered voters signing said petition and what percentage said number equals of the entire number of said registered voters at the time of said election. If the percentage so found is less than the two percent aforesaid, said board shall certify that fact to the register, the said petition shall not be supplemented, and said ordinance shall take effect. If the percentage so found is not less than two percent but is less than seven percent of all said registered voters at the time of said election, then within thirty days after the certification of such finding there may be filed with said board a supplemental petition, shown, by the affidavits appended thereto, to be signed by registered voters to a number which, with the number of registered voters who signed the original petition, equals in number said seven per cent. If such supplemental petition is filed, said board shall within ten days thereafter find and certify the number of registered voters signing same and whether such signers, added to registered voters who signed the original petition, equal in number said seven per cent. If it finds that the aggregate number of such signers does not equal said seven per cent, or if the committee of the petitioners make the statement in writing as hereinafter mentioned, said board shall certify the fact to the register, no further supplementing shall be permitted, and said ordinance shall take effect. If said board finds the original petition, or the original and supplemental petitions together, to be signed by registered voters equal in number to said seven per cent, it shall, forthwith after either such finding, certify that fact, together with a copy of the petition (omitting the signatures), to the register and to the board of aldermen, and the latter board shall reconsider said ordinance. If on such reconsideration the board of aldermen by a majority vote rejects said ordinance, it shall not take effect. If the board of aldermen fails to finally and wholly reject said ordinance within thirty days after such certification to it, then, unless four members of the committee of the petitioners, within fifteen days after said thirty days expire, state in writing to the clerk of the board of aldermen that there is no necessity for submitting said ordinance to the voters, such clerk shall forthwith certify said failure to the board of election commissioners, which shall thereupon make provision for submitting such ordinance, in such form as it then shall be, to the voters; provided, that the final percentage of signers required to compel submission to the voters of an ordinance amending or repealing an ordinance adopted at the polls under the initiative shall be three percent instead of seven per cent, as required in case of other ordinances. Such submission shall be at the first election at which it may lawfully be had, not less than thirty days after the last mentioned certification, and if there is no such election within ninety days after such certification, and the original petition or the original and supplemental petitions together shall be signed by registered voters equal in number to twelve percent of all the registered voters of the city at the time of the aforesaid mayoralty election, or if the board of aldermen shall by resolution so request, such submission shall be at a special election to be held within such ninety days if legally possible, otherwise at the earliest day on which such submission may be had at either a general or special election. If the majority of the votes cast thereon at the election shall be for such ordinance, it shall take effect within ten days after such election.
Section 3 Procedure employed in recall to be followed.
The provisions of section 5 of article V, concerning the ballots and manner of voting, the duties of the board of election commissioners and the register, and the publishing of ordinances and printing of copies thereof, shall govern like matters under this article.
Section 4 How petition executed.
The signatures need not all be appended to one paper, but all papers comprising any original or supplemental petition under this article shall be uniform in character and shall each set forth the ordinance in full and contain the request mentioned in section 2, and designate by names and addresses five persons as the committee of the petitioners, and each such paper shall be verified by an affidavit stating the number of signatures thereto and that each signature was made in affiant's presence by, as affiant verily believes, the person whose name it purports to be; and all papers comprising an original or supplemental petition shall be assembled by the petitioners and filed with the board of election commissioners as one instrument. Each signer shall state opposite his signature his residence address. Any person shall be deemed a registered voter within the meaning of this article whose name is unerased on the registration books.
Section 5 What ordinance to prevail where conflict occurs.
If the provisions of two or more initiated or referred ordinances adopted or approved at the same election conflict, the one receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail in so far as such provisions conflict.
City Counselor Ops.: 8517, 8592
Section 6 Filing and publication of statements relating to initiative or recall propositions.
Any person may present to the city counselor at least twenty days prior to any election a written statement, not exceeding one thousand words, concerning any ordinance or recall proposition to be voted on at such election. The city counselor shall at least ten days before such election prepare and cause to be published in the paper or papers doing the city publishing a fair summary of all such statements.
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