On Tuesday, Nov. 6, many Missourians will head to the polls to vote for their representatives in the United States Congress and Missouri General Assembly. Also on the ballot will be several state-level initiatives and constitutional amendments. These questions range from proposals on raising the minimum wage and legalizing medical marijuana to instituting a higher fuel tax and removing regulations on bingo games. However they choose to vote, it’s important for citizens to make their voices heard by participating in our democracy.
However, I have a few concerns about a particular ballot measure: Amendment 1, also known as Clean Missouri. This proposal would impose a sweeping rewrite of several different areas of our state constitution. The change that is most concerning to me is the sweeping overhaul of how are legislative districts are redrawn. The current bipartisan process may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than the guaranteed gerrymandering that will happen under the new system proposed in Amendment 1.
Although many Missourians support stronger ethics restrictions, I fear Amendment 1 is merely using those popular provisions to garner support for its much more controversial redistricting language. In fact, a circuit court judge in September struck Clean Missouri from the ballot for a similar reason, a decision later overturned by an appellate court in Kansas City.
Clean Missouri calls for a single demographer to draw district lines, but would that really be fairer than the way we do it now, through bipartisan legislative commissions? I believe Amendment 1 is a solution looking for a problem and a power grab by interested groups who cannot pass their priorities through the legislature.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.