On October 16, the Missouri Catholic Bishops issued statements regarding two initiatives which will appear on the November 6 ballot.
The Bishops issued a statement in support of the intent of Proposition B, the ballot initiative to increase the state minimum wage. Proposition B would increase the Missouri minimum wage from $7.85 to $8.60 in 2019. Thereafter the minimum wage would increase by $0.85 per hour until it reaches $12.00 per hour in 2023. After 2023, the minimum wage would be adjusted yearly based on the changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
In their statement, the Bishops emphasized that they have seen the effect that unemployment, underemployment, and low wages have on their parishioners and on society at large. While the Bishops recognized that people of good will may disagree as to what minimum wage is appropriate for Missouri, they “support…the intent of this proposal, which seeks to raise the living standard of the working poor…”
The Bishops also issued a statement in opposition to Amendment 3, which would amend the Missouri constitution to legalize medical marijuana and create a tax-funded stream of revenue for potentially unethical biomedical research.
Amendment 3 would legalize medical marijuana for patients who have one of ten qualifying conditions (or others with a doctor’s approval). The initiative would impose a 15 percent sales tax, which would be used to fund a newly-created biomedical research institute tasked with developing cures for cancer and other diseases. There is no limitation on the types of research that could be funded through the institute.
While the Bishops stated they were “sympathetic to those who seek relief from debilitating illness and express no position on the propriety of medical marijuana as a means of relieving suffering”, they oppose the initiative because the funding stream created by the initiative would not be subject to legislative appropriation or review, and could be used for research involving the destruction and use of embryonic stem cells or aborted fetal remains.