The Missouri House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday to advance a joint resolution that would have voters decide whether to make changes to the redistricting process outlined by Amendment 1, otherwise known as Clean Missouri. Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment last November.
The proposal would strip a provision calling for the appointment of a state demographer who would draw the maps instead of the current commission. It would also lessen the importance of partisan fairness and competitiveness as factors in drawing state legislative districts.
An Associated Press analysis found that the process could lead to more Democratic seats in the General Assembly.
The changes are in a bill that would also ban lobbyist gifts to lawmakers altogether, eliminating the $5 limit in Amendment 1.
“This proposal offers a sincere gift ban, sincere transparency and a bipartisan commission and not a czar,” said Rep. Dean Plocher (R- St. Louis County), the bill’s sponsor. “I take honesty to the voters and an honest choice.”
But Democrats pointed out that voters had already expressed their wishes by casting their votes for Amendment 1. The redistricting changes would not take effect until the 2022 elections.
“And before what they decided has any chance to be implemented and go into effect, you’re deleting all of it,” said Rep. Jon Carpenter (D-Kansas City) during a floor debate last week.
The measure now goes to the Missouri Senate. If it passes, the measure will be on the Nov. 2020 ballot.
Samuel King is the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter: @SamuelKingNews