Campaigns hope to put progressive agenda items on voters’ ballots this fall
▪ establish a two-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers and former legislative employees can lobby
▪ prohibit lobbyist gifts to lawmakers of more than $5
▪ limit campaign contributions to $2,500 for state senators and $2,000 for state representatives
▪ establish a “nonpartisan state demographer” who will help draw fair legislative districts
▪ make more legislative records available to the public
These reforms should not be controversial — or partisan.
The revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists turns constantly. The amendment would not prohibit former members from lobbying forever. But a two-year waiting period would help sever the connection between working for the people and working for private interests.
The most scrutinized part of the Clean Missouri initiative calls for changes to the redistricting process. Under the proposal, a new, nonpartisan state demographer would draw legislative maps.
Some Republicans oppose Clean Missouri because a fair approach to redistricting could cost them seats. Of course, they might feel differently about gerrymandering if Democrats were in power.
Now, lines are drawn to create districts dominated by one party or the other, former Sen. Jack Danforth said. He is exactly right. Safe seats dot the Missouri landscape both in Congress and in the General Assembly.
A more equitable redistricting process would be welcome, said Gwendolyn Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. Amendment 1 will make Missouri a national leader in protecting the voting power of communities of color, she said.
“We hear a lot of promises about making our democracy more responsive to the people, but the legislature has repeatedly failed to deliver,” Grant said.
Corruption and ethics issues have plagued Missouri government for too long. And lawmakers have been unwilling to address obvious problems. It’s up to voters to approve Amendment 1 for needed ethics reforms in Jefferson City.