Bipartisan group condemns politicians’ new plans for overturning will of voters

Good government groups joined Missourians from both parties today in condemning a batch of proposed amendments introduced in the Missouri General Assembly that would roll back redistricting reforms passed overwhelmingly by Missouri voters in 2018.

A small group of Jefferson City politicians introduced a batch of new proposals in the final days of the legislative filing period for 2019, each of which would allow lobbyists and political insiders to draw gerrymandered districts in future state legislative plans.

Five different joint resolutions — SJR 23, SJR 29, HJR46, HJR47, and HJR57 — were filed last week. All five proposals would:

  • flout the will of 1.4 million Missouri voters who supported fair and competitive maps;
    allow for gerrymandered districts that protect incumbent politicians, and
  • gut the rules in the state constitution that require fair maps.
  • None have been referred to committee or scheduled for a hearing at this time.

“Legislators should respect the people of Missouri who voted overwhelmingly to clean up Missouri politics,” says Nancy Miller, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis. “These new proposals are designed by incumbent politicians to eliminate the rules voters just added to the state constitution to require fair legislative district maps.”

“Missourians just passed a new law to stop gerrymandering in November, by an almost two to one margin,” said Bob Johnson, a Lee’s Summit Republican who previously served in the General Assembly. “Their mandate from more than 1.4 million Missourians was clear: fair and competitive maps.”

“We can’t let a few politicians and lobbyists overturn the will of the people,” said Rod Chapel, president of Missouri State Conference of the NAACP. “Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Missourians from all walks of life supported Amendment 1 because it got us started cleaning up Missouri politics, and gives everyday citizens more of a voice in our state government.”

In November 2018, Missourians overwhelmingly supported a new, fair redistricting process that took away the influence of lobbyists and insiders when crafting new maps. In its place, 1,469,093 voters enacted a new system with checks and balances to create districts where candidates will actually have to earn their votes, and to ensure that no political party gets an unfair advantage in any new maps.