(Jefferson City,MO) A ballot initiative pushing for ethics reform and the reshaping of Missouri’s political districts is in trouble after a ruling from Judge in Cole County.
Friday Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled that Amendment One, also known as Clean Missouri was unconstitutional and should be removed from the November ballot. Green sited that Clean Missouri violates a provision of the Missouri Constitution that only allows for one amendment to be changed at a time
In August Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft certified over 347,000 signatures from voters in support of putting Clean Missouri on the ballot.
Clean Missouri calls for a new plan in redrawing of district boundaries during the next census. Currently political districts are drawn by bipartisan house and senate commissions and the maps are adopted after at least 70 percent of commissioners approve the maps.
Clean Missouri would change the process and require a state demographer, selected by the state auditor, to redraw the district boundaries and then submit the changes the house and senate commissions. Any changes would need 70 percent approval from the commissions, and must be approved within 2 months of receiving the updated maps before going into effect.
In addition to the redistricting, the proposed amendment also limits campaign contributions; caps gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers and their staff at $5; prohibits fundraising for campaigns on state property;requires all legislative records be subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law; and requires lawmakers undergo a two year cooling off period before becoming a lobbyist.
Green argues the amendment is too broad, but Missouri Senator Rob Schaaf endorsed Clean Missouri and said the proposed changes are needed in Jefferson City.
“I hope that it is appealed, and even if it isn’t appealed this issue won’t go away. The people of Missouri are not happy with the way things go and this issue will be back,” Schaaf said.
Schaaf also said Clean Missouri was not the only ballot issue calling for multiple changes.
“Given that the gas tax was allowed to be on the ballot and that legislation clearly had more than one subject, it seems like the court may be a little schizophrenic in its rulings,” Schaaf said.
Advocates of Clean Missouri have already started the process to appeal Green’s decision, but the November ballot has to be finalized by September 25.