The Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City has reversed a Cole County judge’s decision on the “Clean Missouri” initiative – leaving the measure on the November ballot, at least for now.

Latest Missouri court ruling puts ethics measure back on November ballot

Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Dan Mehan, a plaintiff in the case, says he’ll appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City. But the Supreme Court is not required to hear it, and next week is the deadline for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican, to finalize ballot measures.

Attorney Chuck Hatfield, who represents intervenor Clean Missouri Incorporated, tells Missourinet it’s very unlikely the Missouri Supreme Court will take the case.

Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel P. Green heard 90 minutes of arguments in Jefferson City on August 31 and issued a 13-page ruling last Friday that the measure violates the Missouri Constitution’s requirement of having a single subject in a ballot proposal.

The proposed initiative has five main components. The most controversial provision would require a state demographer to draw state legislative maps. “Clean Missouri” would also require Missouri’s legislative records to be open, would ban gifts worth more than $5 from lobbyists to lawmakers and would lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates. It would also require Missouri lawmakers to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.

Hatfield says the measure doesn’t violate the single subject clause because every provision mentions and involves the Legislature.

Supporters of “Clean Missouri” also say it would increase transparency and accountability.

As for Mr. Mehan, he issued a statement on Friday afternoon, which reads in part: “Today’s decision (by the Court of Appeals) not only keeps Amendment 1 on the November ballot, it also lowers the bar for the process we use to alter our state constitution.”

Mehan’s statement also reiterates what he told Missourinet outside the Cole County Courthouse on August 31: that they are prepared to campaign against it. He says “Clean Missouri” would mean higher taxes and more regulation.

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