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Amendment 1 Needs To Be Stopped

The proponents of Clean Missouri are counting on your ignorance.


The best defense against tyranny is an informed electorate. It is an irony of our times, when we are awash in information from the internet, that we are often poorly informed about issues that really affect us. The proponents of Amendment 1 Clean Missouri are absolutely counting

Redistricting As a Means to Increase Democrat Control

 

The title is Clean Missouri, but this multifaceted state constitutional amendment is anything but clean. You can read the full constitutional language behind this here, but this is all the public will see on their ballot in November.

 

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

        Change process and criteria for redrawing state legislative districts during reapportionment:

        Change limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can accept from individuals or entities:

        Establish a limit on gifts that state legislators and their employees can accept from paid lobbyists:

        Prohibit state legislators and their employees, from serving as paid lobbyists for a period of time;

        Prohibit political fundraising by candidates for or members of the state legislature on State property and

        Require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public?

 

There are many reasons to oppose this amendment, but let’s focus first on bullet #1, changing the redistricting process.

 

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) has targeted 12 states to change the redistricting process to favor democrats. Missouri is on their list of 7 additional states to watch. Watch what? Watch what happens with Amendment 1 to see if they can get the job done without being noticed and to see what the opposition’s talking points are so they can address them when that state gets to the targeted list. In other words we’re on deck to shift control to Democrats.

 

The Redistricting Process Now

 

Redistricting is the redrawing of legislative and congressional district lines following the U.S. decennial census. The next census will be done in 2020. The U.S. and Missouri Constitutions require the lines be redrawn to create districts that are almost equal in population. (~174k for senate districts, ~36K for house districts) There is absolutely no mention of political fairness in this definition. These districts represent regional interests, not political interests.

 

The job of U.S. Congressional redistricting is the responsibility of the General Assembly.  The job of redrawing the state’s 34 Senate district and 163 House districts are assigned to two bipartisan commissions appointed by the Governor. Democrats already have a seat at the table.

Changes in Amendment 1

Amendment 1 would shift appointing power from the Governor to the State Auditor – NOT the Secretary of State who is responsible for all state elections. Why would they do that? Which is the only statewide office currently held by a Democrat?

 

According to the language, the auditor would appoint a single “non-partisan” demographer to draft the legislative boundaries.  This would introduce MORE BIAS into the process, not less. And that demographer would be charged with drawing district boundaries which are balanced between “two parties” based on previous voting.  Since we do not register for parties in this state, there would be a lot of guessing and assumptions involved in this balancing act which, in and of itself, would introduce tremendous bias to the process.

Two Parties Only

 

Rest assured the goal is to give Democrats an advantage they could not otherwise get in elections. And if you identify with any party besides R or D you are totally left out of this process.  Clean Missouri doesn’t care about you.

 

This is only one aspect of a 6 unrelated points amendment. If you disagree with changing our constitution this way, a change that would require a supermajority in the legislature to overturn, you must

VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1.

 

Clean Missouri is a power shift wrapped in

a thin veneer of ethics reform

Amendment 1 Clean Missouri is a multifaceted state constitutional amendment that is anything but clean. The real goal of Clean Missouri is to radically change the way our legislative district boundaries are drawn to give Democrats and electoral advantage they couldn’t get by their policies and ideology alone. To get this past the voters, they have covered their initiative with a thin veneer of ethics reform that is easy to scratch away.
 
Let’s take a look at bullets #2 & 4 from the Koster approved ballot language (see above).

Minuscule changes to limits on campaign contributions
 
No one is fond of money in politics, but you need money to buy yards signs, send mailers, run ads and sometimes pay people to knock doors with your literature. What no one wants to see is a single person, business or interest group providing the majority of dollars to a single campaign. That is why Missouri already limits campaign contributions.  We limit cash contributions to <$100 from any single contributor and Amendment 2 from 2016 already put a limit of $2,600 from an individual to a candidate in an election cycle. The big change that Clean Missouri is proposing is to lower that amount to $2,500 for senate races and $2,000 for house races.  That is known as window dressing, Not meaningful campaign finance reform.
 
Ineffective controls on state legislators and their employees serving as paid lobbyists
 
The same window dressing is present in bullet #4. Missouri already requires former political office holders to wait 6 months before they can become a paid lobbyist. Because we have term limits in Missouri even highly effective and admired office holders are forced to leave office typically after 8 years in the house (a very small  percentage make is another 8 years in the senate). They take with them the institutional knowledge of not only how the system works,  but also what they learned, both pro and con, about important  issues in all the hearings they attended and floor debates they participated in. They also learn a lot about the companies who try to buy influence in the capital including which ones have tried to stick it to their constituents in the past in order to protect their own interests. This leaves the institutional knowledge to the bureaucrats who can stay for decades and outmaneuver the newest crop of legislators. Changing our term limits rules would go farther to correct the balance of power than a lobbying pause.  Because an additional 18 months isn’t going to erase that institutional knowledge.
 
These are only two aspects of the six unrelated points in this ballot initiative. Much of what is in this amendment is already in Missouri statute in some form where future changes, (e.g. to correct unintended consequences) can be handled through the normal deliberative legislative process. The promoters of Amendment 1 would prefer to use an uniformed electorate, fooled by non-descriptive ballot language and barred from the benefit of debate, to get what they want enshrined in our constitution. If you disagree with changing our constitution this way, you must

VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 1.

 

August 7, 2018 Primary Election St. Louis County Ballot Issues


Proposition 2

 

"Shall the St. Louis County Charter be amended to allow the council to appoint an attorney to its executive staff, and enter into a contract with outside private counsel?"

 

The office of the County Attorney is currently part of the  county Executive branch. The CA has the discretion whether or not to take action on a matter requested by the council, (e.g. drafting language for legislation, responding to a Sunshine Act request etc.) This can put that attorney into conflict with the council if the County Executive is not in alignment with the Council. This amendment to the county charter would give the Council the ability to appoint an attorney to its executive staff and enter into a contract with outside private counsel, should the counsel deem that a matter is not being addressed in a timely fashion by the County Attorney. Prop 2 was passed by the county Council, vetoed by the County Executive, and the veto overridden by the Council 6:1.

             

Vote YES to support the Council's ability to receive timely legal counsel.

 


Proposition 3

 

"Shall the St. Louis County Charter be amended to provide that the term “employment,” as used in the county charter, shall be strictly interpreted as prescribed in state law?"

 

The county Charter prohibits anyone who is a government employee from being on the council. This is intended to prevent double dipping on government salaries/benefits and potential conflicts of interest in policy matters. There was an attempt to unseat Ernie Trakas, a Republican council member, by claiming that he violates the charter because of his legal contracting with out-state school districts.  The state does not define employment to include independent contractors as Councilman Trakas was acting with these districts. The county charter is more vague on the definition of employment.  Proposition 3 would bring the country's definition of employment in alignment with the definition used by the entire state. It was passed by the council, vetoed by the Executive, and the veto overridden by the Council 6:1. 

              

Vote YES vote to put the county's definition of employment in line with the state's definition.

 


Proposition 4

 

"Shall the St. Louis County Charter be amended to provide for the regulation of campaign contributions, the regulation of interdepartmental fund transfers, and a website to publish certain county financial documents, as set forth in Exhibit A of Ordinance No. 27,059?  


You can read the specifics of the bill here. We always support good financial practices such as spending of appropriated money only on things that it was specifically appropriated for. The bill places an additional check on intra-departmental transfers of appropriated money in the event of new unanticipated spending needs by requiring that the council approve such transfers in addition to the County Executive. It also calls for transparency in county finances by requiring a website be established so the public may view "all St. Louis County government debts, expenditures, pension fund balances, pension fund statements and budget documents." The bill behind this proposition also calls for limits on campaign contributions from individuals to $2,600. The bill was passed by the council, vetoed by the Executive, and the veto overridden by the Council 6:1.


Vote YES to provide checks on county spending and campaign contributions, and improved government fiscal transparency.