Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is giving the public a sneak peak at potential ballot initiatives and a chance to comment about them before the petition-gathering begins.
Kander, who took office Jan. 14, said Friday that initiatives submitted to his office will be posted online and the public will have a five-day comment period before his office drafts summaries.
The secretary of state's official summary is printed atop the petition pages that people sign and, if enough signatures are gathered, also appears on the ballot.
The summaries have increasingly become subject to lawsuits, as advocates or opponents of the measures claim the wording is insufficient or unfair.
Under Kander's predecessor, Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, people had to submit a request under Missouri's open-records law if they wanted to get a copy of a proposed initiative before Carnahan's office had prepared an official summary for it. There was no formal public comment period.
"When I traveled around the state, a lot of people asked me questions about this process and were concerned that it seemed to them to be done in secret, behind closed doors," said Kander, also a Democrat. "So I decided to make the process more transparent and allow for public input."