Far and away the most contentious and publicly contested component in the Amendment 1 Clean Missouri ballot measure passed by voters in November is its overhaul of the way voting districts are drawn up.

Most Democrats supported the proposal, with the exception of some members of the Legislative Black Caucus, while most members of the GOP, including the Missouri Republican Party, solidified opposition to it.

Its supporters claimed it would prevent either party from gaining an unfair advantage while opponents contended it favored Democrats.  Republican Governor Mike Parson told the Associated Press that he wants Amendment 1 repealed over its redistricting portion.

But lawmakers started to pay attention to another section of the measure after it passed, the portion that affected them directly on a day-to-day basis.

As written, Amendment 1 subjects records of official activities of the House and Senate, their committees as well as individual lawmakers and their staffs to the state’s “Sunshine Law” that requires openness in government.

Every lawmaker is now a custodian of records who is responsible for responding to public records requests for documents and information from their office. That means 34 Senators and 163 Representatives are the keepers of records for themselves and their staffs.

The Chief Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate are custodians for records pertaining to each chamber.

Dana Rademan Millier has been Chief Clerk of the Missouri House since late October. She says a major priority is establishing guidelines for lawmakers, who as custodians of records, will have to establish their own retention policies for documents such as emails. “I think it’s important that they have options available and some best practices because they’re really going to need to have some sort of retention policies, based on the new constitutional provisions that were enacted,” said Rademan Millier.

She said she’s been meeting with the secretary of state’s office to get assistance in establishing standards to comply with the Sunshine Law. Rademan Miller stated that the secretary’s office told her that lawmakers probably aren’t destroying information such as email too quickly, but are likely retaining it longer than needed in order to reference the data it contains.

Some lawmakers have made statements that constituents personal information communicated to them will become public record.  Rademan Miller says further clarification of the “Sunshine Law” will determine if such a contention is true. “I think it’s a gray area with the plain reading of the sunshine law,” Rademan Miller said. “There are exemptions there, but there’s definitely not like a blanket provision that provides an exemption for all constituent correspondence.”

Chapter 610 in Missouri law is the foundation of the Sunshine Law.  It includes 24 provisions in which records can be closed to the public. They include instances such as welfare cases and mental or physical health proceedings involving identifiable persons as well as individually identifiable personnel records.

Rademan Miller thinks the wording of Chapter 610 is open to interpretation and will need to be resolved through a legal or legislative process. “The courts at some point maybe have to sort it out unless the legislature decides to act and amend the law and try to clarify some provisions which they may do,” said Rademan Miller. She noted that although Amendment 1 is a constitutional amendment, it places lawmakers under a statute, the Sunshine Law, which can be revised.

Missouri’s Sunshine Law dates back to 1973 following the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 1966 by the U.S. Congress.

Some state lawmakers are weighing in with concerns, including Republican Representative Nick Schroer of O’Fallon, who thinks some media sources could expose confidential emails because of Amendment 1.

Republican Representative Jean Evans of Manchester says Amendment 1 wrote out any exemptions to public disclosure.

Other components of Amendment 1 Clean Missouri that apply to state lawmakers include a requirement that they wait two years before becoming lobbyists. The measure also eliminates lobbyist gifts of more than $5 to lawmakers and limits campaign donations to $2,500 for Senate candidates and $2,000 to House candidates. It further bars fundraising activity in any building or property owned by the state.

The provision calling for a two-year waiting period before becoming lobbyists led to early resignations by several lawmakers before Amendment 1 went into effect in early December. Among them was Democratic Senator Jake Hummel of St. Louis. Hummel lost his primary for reelection and would have exited the legislature in January anyway. But as the Missouri AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer, he said he wanted to be sure he would be able to file as a lobbyist if he was called on to do so.

Missouri voters resoundingly approved Amendment 1 by a 62%-to-38% margin.

Some state lawmakers are weighing in with concerns, including Republican Representative Nick Schroer of O’Fallon, who thinks some media sources could expose confidential emails because of Amendment 1.