With Voters’ Blessing, Missouri’s Redistricting Process And Ethics Laws To Change

Nov 7, 2018
Originally published on November 7, 2018 12:17 am

Missouri’s redistricting process and some state ethics laws will soon change, as voters passed Amendment 1 on Tuesday.

Supporters of the so-called Clean Missouri measure, which were mostly Democrats but also included some Republicans, said it’ll fix undue lobbyist influence in the statehouse and ensure fairer General Assembly representation.

“The fact that all of these things are winners, that they are clear, that they’re transparent, that’s how we were able to have such a big coalition and such a big win," said Sean Soendker Nicholson, campaign manager for Clean Missouri.

Opponents had argued throughout the campaign that the measure was mostly about Democrats looking to gerrymander districts. Some prominent Democrats, such as St. Louis’ U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, also opposed the measure, contending it would dilute the power of black voters in the state.

Missouri lawmakers for years have tried to pass ethics restrictions, especially in the wake of sexually charged text messages between a Republican leader and an intern in 2015. But they’ve never been able to pass them.

The state is due to redraw its state legislative maps after the 2020 census. With the new rules, the state auditor will have a say in who becomes the demographer — who’ll take into account things like “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness.” The resulting map will still need to be approved by a bipartisan commission.

Samuel King is the Missouri government and politics reporter for KCUR. Email him at samuel@kcur.org and follow him on Twitter: @SamuelKingNews

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