Everyday Missourians decided to do what lawmakers lacked the integrity to do, try to clean up Missouri politics by putting Amendment 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot, and voters should vote for the initiate, called Clean Missouri.
Reasons to vote for Amendment 1 include bipartisan support from those outside of the lobbyist-befouled halls of Jefferson City. Among supporters are leading Republicans, former Missouri Sen. Jack Danforth and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and present U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, state Sen. Rob Schaaf, a Republican, and Reps. Martha Stevens and Nick Marshall, a Democrat and a Republican.
More important than who supports the measure is what the measure will do. A “yes” vote would make changes to the state’s lobbying laws, to campaign finance limits for legislative candidates and to the legislative redistricting process.
Regarding lobbying, Missourians have long opposed lobbyists giving gifts to lawmakers. Some who receive those gifts have told us, dismissively, they cannot be bought with free tickets to games and dinner nights on the town. If not, then they should long ago have placed a ban on such gifts. But they did not. Amendment 1 would end the freebies.
Missourians are opposed to rich people, like St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield, being able to write out million-dollar checks to candidates. Anyone who does not understand that he wants something in return for the money – the assurance about where a candidate will stand on particular issues, such as the right-to-work law – is naive. Neither Sinquefield nor Democrat billionaire donor George Soros should be able to throw their dollars around to, in effect, buy legislative influence. Amendment 1 would do what Missourians want – set limits on campaign donations.
The third point involves redistricting. Anyone who understands how lawmakers gerrymandered the last legislative district maps can see the problem, including here in Ray County. Then-Sen. David Pearce had served in his home county of Johnson and several counties south. After redistricting, he lost all of the counties to the south and became the senator for Ray and several counties to the north of Johnson County. Amendment 1 offers a fairer way to redistrict.
To reduce the influence of lobbyists, to reduce the influence of money in campaigns and to reduce the influence of lawmakers during redistricting, Missourians should exert their own influence by voting yes for Amendment 1.