August 7, Governor Jay Nixon (D) of Missouri, slated a proposed amendment affirming the right to pray in public places on the voting ballot.
Governor Nixon announced that he placed the measure on the August ballot, instead of the November ballot, "because the provisions of the amendment would be effective immediately if approved by voters."
Nixon declined further comment, refusing to state whether he supported the bill or not.
Officials expect the measure to draw conservatives to the polls in August.
So from a political standpoint, it stands to reason that Nixon, a Democrat, would want to get it out of the way in August, when parties are choosing their nominees, rather than in the general election pitting Democrats against Republicans.
The House passed the measure 126-30 and the Senate passed it 34-0, during the 2011 legislative session.
The sponsor, Rep. Mike McGhee, R-Odessa, said he championed the change because of a fear that government would use the separation of church and state as a reason to keep people from privately praying on public property.
Critics of the amendment say the U. S. Constitution’s First Amendment already protects the right to pray in public and the Missouri Constitution states, the "right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience."
If voters approve it, it would prevent government and public school officials from adopting policies that prevent public prayer as long as it does not disturb the peace or disrupt said event.
The bill states that it repeals Section 5 Article 1 of the Missouri Constitution and replaces it with, among other things, “that no human authority can control or interfere with the right of conscious”.