Originally published in The Joplin Globe
Where is the hue and cry from the Missouri public to repeal part of Amendment 1, which was passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2018?
We’re not hearing it.
Lawmakers, who gather Wednesday in Jefferson City to launch the legislative session, say one of their priorities is repealing that part of the amendment that determines how legislative districts will be drawn going forward.
Yet we’re not hearing from anyone — anyone — other than lawmakers that this should be a goal, and certainly not the priority that lawmakers think it should be.
In fact, that’s how we got the amendment, known as Clean Missouri, in the first place — lawmakers weren’t listening.
They weren’t listening when Missourians said they wanted tougher campaign contribution limits.
They weren’t listening when Missourians said they wanted to rein in the influence of lobbyists and in particular the gifts those lobbyists rained down on lawmakers.
They weren’t listening when Missourians said they wanted a longer cooling off period before lawmakers could become paid lobbyists.
And they weren’t listening when Missourians said lawmakers should be subject to the state’s Sunshine Law.
They simply weren’t listening.
And so all of that — along with redistricting — was bundled into a single amendment that sailed through; Amendment 1 passed 62-38 percent. Now it’s not that a majority can’t be wrong, but the new redistricting mechanism hasn’t been tried yet to find out if it is a better, fairer, less partisan approach.
Critics cried that Amendment 1 was a Trojan horse, and that redistricting was wrapped up in ethics reform to make it palatable. Maybe, but it was lawmakers who provided the wood and tools to build that horse by ignoring the frustration of voters.
Anyway, we think voters knew what they were doing in November 2018.
We urge lawmakers to listen to what Missourians had to say barely a year ago.
And we urge them to listen now.
What will they hear?
And nothing is what they should do with regard to Amendment 1.