ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- One of the most impactful measures on the Missouri November ballot is Amendment 1, which proposes changes to redistricting, campaign finance and political lobbying.
If passed, the amendment would alter three different facets of the current political system in Missouri, so we’ll break them down by issue.
Changes to redistricting system
Currently, the congressional and state legislative district boundaries are determined by two commissions.
The commission responsible for drawing state Senate districts is made up of five Democrats and five Republicans, each of whom was nominated by their party.
The commission responsible for drawing state House districts is made up of eight Democrats and eight Republicans, selected by the district committees of their respective party.
In order for a redistricting map to be approved, 70 percent of the commission members must support it.
Under Amendment 1, redistricting would be handled by a non-partisan state demographer. The demographer would be chosen from a pool of applicants by the state auditor, the state Senate majority leader, and the state Senate minority leader.
To be eligible to apply for the demographer position, a person cannot have served in a partisan elected position in the last four years. They also would be prohibited from holding office in the general assembly for four years after their last proposed redistricting map.
The demographer would draw the district maps following a long list of criteria spelled out in the Amendment, all of which is designed to create districts based on “partisan fairness and competitiveness.”
The existing commissions would be allowed to propose changes to the map, but the changes would have to be approved by 70 percent of the commissioners and also adhere to the Amendment 1’s criteria for fair redistricting.
The measure aims to take district mapping out of the hands of politicians and put the responsibility on a independent expert, intending to remove the partisanship from the process. This is designed to ensure fairer voting districts and reduce or eliminate gerrymandering. The last time Missouri redistricted was 2011.
Changes to campaign finance
Amendment 1 would establish contribution limits for candidates and committees. Contributions would be capped at $2,500 to a state Senate candidate and $2,000 to a House candidate per person per election cycle.
The amendment would also make it illegal to donate under a fake name, another person’s name, or through another person to conceal your identity.
It also would ban the state legislature from passing any law allowing for unlimited campaign contributions.
Missouri voters already approved tightening campaign contribution limits once, approving a statewide referendum in 2016. The legislature reversed that referendum, despite it being approved by 70 percent of voters.
Since this is a constitutional amendment, the legislature could not overturn it if voters approve its passage.
Changes to lobbying
Legislators and employees would be required to wait two years after the end of the legislative session in which they served to become a paid lobbyist. It would also bar legislators and employees from accepting gifts from a lobbyist in excess of $5.
This part of the amendment is designed to stop the practice of legislators leaving office and immediately becoming lobbyists, a practice many believe encourages lawmakers to cozy up to lobbyists while in office in order to secure employment afterward.
By forcing lawmakers to wait two years, along with limiting gifts to $5, Amendment 1 aims to limit the influence wielded by lobbyists and special interest groups in Jefferson City.
“We think it’s a good thing to stop all the gerrymandering that’s been done. It’s out of hand and it’s drawing the lines unfairly.
That’s not to say we're [only focused on that]. We also think it’s a good idea to clean up Jefferson City's pay-for-play situation. The millions of dollars some people have spent to buy politicians takes the average voter right out of the equation."
-Mike Louis, President of Missouri AFL-CIO
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D)
Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-34)
Rep. Martha Stevens (D-46)
Rep. Nick Marshall (R-13)
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California)
"The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposes Amendment 1. The proposal is an underhanded attempt to tinker with Missouri’s constitution and redraw the lines that define how Missouri is divided into state House and Senate districts. If Amendment 1 passes, it could lead to a radical shift in priorities in the Missouri General Assembly, opening the door to higher taxes and more bureaucratic regulation. It could also reverse long-running efforts to make our state business-friendly and competitive for growth and investment opportunities."
-Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Attorney General Josh Hawley (R)
Rep. Sara Walsh (R-50)
Missouri Republican Party
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry