An amendment intended to promote ethics reform in Missouri politics and overhaul the redistricting process was approved by voters on Tuesday.
Amendment 1, also known as Clean Missouri, passed with a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.
“Thousands of Missourians from across the state came together to put Amendment 1 on the ballot, and then thousands more joined the fight to pass Amendment 1,” Clean Missouri treasurer Nimrod Chapel Jr. said in a statement. “It’s truly a great day for Missouri.”
The amendment bans all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly worth more than $5, and it requires Missouri politicians to wait at least two years after the conclusion of the session of the General Assembly in which they last served before becoming lobbyists. It also lowers the $2,600 campaign contribution limit for state legislative candidates and requires legislative records and proceedings to be subject to the state’s open records law, known as the Sunshine Law.
The amendment’s changes to the redistricting process have caused the most controversy. Instead of bipartisan commissions, a nonpartisan state demographer will be tasked with drawing the districts and the bipartisan commissions will review the results.
Missouri is one of the first states to implement this redistricting model. Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, said she is excited that the state put forth and passed a “front-line idea.”
“I think the people of Missouri will be excited,” Lavender said. “And I think we ought to have a more fair and balanced representation in Jefferson City of our citizenry of the people of Missouri.”
Supporters and opponents disagree as to whether the changes will make the process less political or if it will result in districts that better reflect the population.
Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, opposed the ballot initiative and said Missouri’s old redistricting rules set an example for other states to draw districts in a nonpartisan way.
“This initiative will cause gerrymandering like we have not seen in the past and could take decades to undo,” Conway said in a text message.
The proposal had a rocky road to Election Day.
Clean Missouri was removed from the ballot by Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green on Sept. 14 on the grounds that it dealt with multiple unrelated issues, which would violate the constitution. Three members of the Western District Court of Appeals unanimously overruled Green’s decision.
Lavender was thrilled with the result.
“I’m just really excited that people did not listen to the lies that the Republican party was putting out about it,” Lavender said. “This amendment does nothing but equalize parties in our state.”
Supervising editor is Mark Horvit.