Jefferson City politicians’ gerrymandering plan (HJR48) was defeated this week in the State Senate after a massive citizen response to defend the fair map requirements in Amendment 1 that passed in a landslide in November.The Clean Missouri coalition released the following statement today regarding the defeat of HJR48 and passage of SB213:

“More than 300,000 Missourians signed petitions to put Amendment 1 on the ballot, and then 1,469,093 voted to put the rules for maps maps and a more ethical  legislature into our state constitution. We’ve tracked more than 10,000 phone calls and messages into the State Capitol about politicians’ attempts to undo their mandate — and we know that’s just a fraction of what citizens have been doing in the past few weeks.

“We are glad to see the HJR48 gerrymandering plan set aside — but we know the lobbyists and politicians who pushed for this outrageous proposal aren’t giving up.

“We also know the massive bipartisan coalition that fought for two years to pass redistricting and ethics reforms aren’t going to give up in their fight for a responsive, accountable, and transparent state government.

“We are pleased to see SB213 sent to Governor Parson, which will establish good rules for the nonpartisan state demographer and empower citizens to be more engaged in the upcoming redistricting process. Voters have demanded an open and fair map creation process, and SB213 is a good next step to implementing what voters have approved.”

If HJR48 had been passed into law:

  • Fair map rules would have been gutted. The clear and transparent criteria in the constitution requiring fair maps and protecting the voting power of communities of color would have been gutted or dramatically weakened.
  • Lobbyists and political appointees would have free reign to gerrymandering maps. A huge ‘compactness’ loophole would have allowed lobbyists and political appointees to split communities and gerrymander maps.
  • Redistricting would happen in secretive back rooms. The redistricting process would have become more secretive, and would have happened in back rooms instead of in public view.
  • The process would have been even more political than it has been in the past. Independence added to process with nonpartisan state demographer role would be gone, and state political parties would be given even more control for future redistricting processes.

HJR48 was forced through the State House despite bipartisan opposition, and championed by Sen. Caleb Rowden in the State Senate. It was defeated this week in the Senate Fiscal Oversight Committee, however.

Rules for fair state legislative maps in our state constitution right now:

  • ensure no party will have an unfair advantage in future state legislative map plans
  • require data used in the crafting of draft maps to be made public
  • protect the voting power of communities of color against vote dilution, and
  • limit the influence of lobbyists and political appointees who have run the process in past redistricting cycles.

The Clean Missouri coalition remains committed to defending fair maps mandate passed by 1.47MM Missourians.