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Missouri Court Hearing Challenge To Ballot Initiatives

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri Supreme Court is hearing arguments that could determine if voters will decide this November whether to raise the minimum wage, increase tobacco taxes and limit interest rates on payday loans.

Among the issues before the high court Monday is whether the state auditor has the legal authority to prepare financial estimates for ballot initiatives. Cole County judges have issued conflicting rulings on the matter.

If the financial estimates are struck down, that could potentially invalidate all the signatures collected on petitions printed with the financial summaries.

Supporters of the tobacco tax, minimum wage and payday loan measures already have submitted signatures to the secretary of state’s office. Election officials have until Aug. 7 to determine whether the measures qualify for the November ballot.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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