The Missouri Legislature has passed today a controversial resolution that would ask voters this November to overturn Clean Missouri’s redistricting process passed by voters in 2018. The plan would let a bipartisan commission redraw legislative districts, instead of a nonpartisan demographer. It would also ban lobbyist gifts, instead of Clean Missouri’s $5 limit, and put a $2,000 cap on Senate candidate political donations, instead of the current $2,500.
During Missouri House debate today, bill handler Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, says Clean Missouri prioritized the interests of billionaires in New York and Texas.
“It was all out of state money that funded Amendment One. Why? Where was the Missouri money? This is Missourians we’re voting on here. Our communities matter,” says Plocher.
Some Democrats say the proposed constitutional amendment could leave out certain segments of the population, including minors and noncitizens. Representative Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, says the measure would let politicians get back to manipulating the boundaries of their districts.
“I dare you to look at a map where one district wraps around another district, where one member of our body has to drive through three other people’s districts to get to his polling place from his house. I dare you to say that those are not gerrymandered maps,” says Merideth.
Represenative Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, fired back.
“Which judge gerrymandered the maps?” asks Christofanelli.
“I don’t know, gentleman. But I can tell you they are gerrymandered,” replies Merideth.
“That’s right you don’t know because you made it up,” says Christofanelli. “The Democrats made this up and they have been lying about this from the beginning.”
“Gerrymandering doesn’t exist, gentleman? That’s a powerful statement,” says Merideth.
“The maps have not been gerrymandered. It was a scam,” says Christofanelli.
Earlier this week, Missouri House Rules Committee Chairman Rocky Miller, R- Lake Ozark, voted in favor of the resolution but made his own prediction.
“This is going to go down in flames if it makes it to the ballot. Flames. This will not pass at all,” said Miller. This will be as bad as right-to-work. This will be three strikes in a row against the GOP. So, if they want three strikes in a row – pass this. We’ll see how it goes.”
In 2017, the Missouri Legislature passed a right-to-work law, which would ban mandatory union fees in the workplace. The next year, Missouri voters overwhelmingly shot down the law.
Miller also said the Missouri GOP Party told him the proposal has errors that need correcting, but he did not elaborate.
Fourteen House Republicans voted with Democrats against the proposal.
The measure is Senate Joint Resolution 38.
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