Repealing Clean Missouri Amendment At Top Of The List For Some Lawmakers

Originally published in St. Louis Public Radio

The Clean Missouri amendment was passed by 62% of voters in 2018, but repealing at least part of it in the 2020 legislative session is a top priority for some lawmakers.

The constitutional amendment was billed as a way to “clean up Missouri politics” by capping campaign contributions, limiting the powers of lobbyists and revamping the redistricting process.

Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, said the measure should have never made it on the ballot because it included too many topics.

“In spite of that measure getting 62% of the vote, I don’t really know what the people said yes to,” Eigel said. “Was it Sunshine Law changes? Was it campaign contribution-limit changes? Was it redistricting changes?”

An appeals court has already ruled on that issue. The court decided that while there are multiple provisions, they all relate to a single purpose of limiting partisan or special-interest influence in the Legislature.

As a part of the effort to overturn the amendment, Eigel said he also wants to change the entire process for amending the state constitution.

“Right now, a 50-plus-1% threshold, gaining a small number of signatures from only six of our eight congressional districts … is one of the lowest standards we have to change a state constitution anywhere in the country,” Eigel said.

Currently, getting an amendment to the state constitution on the ballot requires signatures from 8% of voters in six of Missouri’s congressional districts. Depending on the district, that ranges from 25,000 to 30,000 signatures in each district.

Many Democrats have said they will try to stop any effort to repeal the amendment. Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said voters spoke loud and clear.

“Not everyone in our caucus agrees with Clean Missouri, but as I said, the voters overwhelmingly told us that’s what they wanted.”

Some Democrats have concerns about redrawing the state legislative districts, including whether it could dilute African American voting.

Eigel said he expects Clean Missouri to be one of the first discussions in the Senate during the 2020 legislative session.