Originally posted in the eMissourian on May 17, 2019.
The General Assembly, as it winds down with another session this week, may pass legislation calling for another vote on the Clean Missouri amendment. They want to kill the voter-approved Amendment 1 initiative that was approved last November.
Republicans’ main fear is that the nonpartisan redistricting provision might endanger their party’s hold on legislative districts. Republicans are comfortable in the present boundaries, which give their party a majority in the House and Senate.
They want another costly statewide vote on a new plan that would kill the amendment to the constitution, approved by voters with an overwhelming majority that calls for a “nonpartisan” demographer to draw legislative boundaries. Republicans want a “bipartisan” panel to redraw the boundaries, much as to what was done in the past, and which didn’t work in fairness to both parties. It was political, with party deals being made by members of the panel.
An example is Franklin County, which is divided into four House districts, all held by Republicans. To divide Franklin County that way doesn’t make any sense and it’s unfair to voters. It’s confusing!
One of the arguments against the Republicans is that to change or eliminate Clean Missouri is going against the wishes of voters. Some Republicans claim that it really isn’t going against the voters’ wishes since the bill calls for another statewide vote.
That argument is an insult to voters’ intelligence, who approved the Clean Missouri amendment by a 61 to 38 percent margin in November. In Franklin County the margin of passage of Clean Missouri was 54 to 45 percent.
The politicians who are interested in being in safe districts for their own well-being fought Clean Missouri from its inception. Those politicians fear their re-election, and/or the party’s political standing, may be endangered if a nonpartisan demographer draws the legislative boundaries.
The bill that may pass before the session ends Friday was given birth out of fear that the party in the majority in the General Assembly may lose ground under a truly nonpartisan way of drawing the boundaries as called for in Clean Missouri.
About the only way for Missourians to keep Clean Missouri’s provisions, if the bill passes and there is another statewide vote, is to vote to retain the amendment by an even stronger majority.
If an issue is given a strong majority in a statewide election, and the Legislature immediately passes a bill calling for another election to kill what the voters approved, it is insulting to the people of Missouri and goes against all democratic principles.