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Columbia Missourian

UPDATE: Election Day provides opportunity for awareness on minimum wage, payday loans

By Jordan Shapiro
August 7, 2012 | 4:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — For some, election day is about more than the candidates. 

The executive director of Grass Roots Organizing, Robin Acree, and her co-worker, John Buthod, stood more than four hours outside the Columbia Public Library to promote ballot measures raising the state's minimum wage and capping interest rates on payday loans.

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Acree has been working on capping the interest rate on payday loans since 2003 and has been pushing for Missouri to raise its $7.25 an hour minimum wage since 2006. 

"These are working family issues that will help local economies do better," Acree said. 

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, however, ruled Tuesday the minimum wage and payday loan initiative petitions did not meet the signature requirements and therefore will not appear on the November ballot.

The state Supreme Court ruled July 31 that both ballot measures passed the legal requirements, but Carnahan decided that each measure did not obtain the necessary amount of voter signatures. 

Had Carnahan approved the measures, Missouri voters were facing a decision on whether to raise the wage to $8.25 an hour. The payday loan measure would have capped the average annual interest rate for certain short-term loans at 36 percent, a dramatic decrease from current law. In 2009, the Missouri Division of Finance found the average annual interest rate for payday loans was 431 percent.

Organizers behind both ballot measures could file legal challenges against Carnahan's ruling.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.