Supporters of a November ballot measure they call “Clean Missouri” say it would increase transparency and accountability, while opponents say it would mean more regulation.
You’ll be voting next month on Amendment One, which has five main components. The most controversial provision would require a state demographer to draw state legislative maps.
Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan tells Missourinet that Amendment One should be defeated.
“This really should be called ‘Fleece Missouri’ because they’re (supporters) trying to confuse the voters with five or so different categories on the same measure,” Mehan says.
Amendment One would also ban gifts worth more than five dollars from lobbyists to lawmakers and would lower the current campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates.
Former State Sen. Bob Johnson, R-Lee’s Summit, who also served in the Missouri House, supports Amendment One, particularly the requirement of a state demographer.
“I think they (districts) should be compact, contiguous and competitive,” says Johnson. “No longer do we want to see a group of voters on one side, three blocks separating for a mile or so and pick up another group of voters. No, we want them squares and rectangles and that kind of thing.”
Amendment One backers say a citizen commission would review the legislative maps drawn by the state demographer.
Opponents include the Missouri Farm Bureau, which says Amendment One “would mandate extensive gerrymandering” in an attempt to balance each district with an equal number of Democratic and Republican voters.
In September, the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City reversed Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green’s decision to remove Amendment One from the November ballot.
Judge Green issued a 13-page ruling in early September that the measure violates the Missouri Constitution’s “single subject” requirement.
The Appeals Court reversed that on September 21.
Attorney Chuck Hatfield, who represented intervenor Clean Missouri Incorporated, argued the measure doesn’t violate the single subject clause because every provision mentions and involves the Legislature.
Mehan and Johnson spoke to Missourinet separately after a recent court hearing at the Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City.
While supporters of Amendment One say it would take power back from special interests, critics say it would ensure that political parties and consultants gain even more power.
“This is something that really should be defeated,” Mehan says. “And we don’t have a problem. This is a solution searching for a problem.”
But former Senator Johnson disagrees, telling Missourinet that Amendment One would eliminate most lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.
“I think folks back home in the districts, and I don’t represent a legislative district any longer, are tired of $900,000 a year being expended on gifts and ballgames and other social activities. They (Missouri lawmakers) ought to spend a little more time representing folks back home,” says Johnson.
Amendment One would also require state lawmakers to wait two years before becoming lobbyists. It’s currently one year.
Election Day is November 6.
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