Missouri voters pass Clean Missouri reforms, minimum wage hike

Posted at 12:16 AM, Nov 07, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Returning power to the people was the goal of Missouri Amendment 1 and the people overwhelmingly approved the “Clean Missouri” initiative, which aims to reduce corruption and diminish the influence of deep-pocketed donors in the state.

“We are thrilled that Republicans, Democrats, and independents came together to clean up Missouri politics,” said Nimrod “Rod” Chapel Jr., president of the NAACP Missouri State Chapter and Treasurer of Clean Missouri. "Thousands of Missourians from across the state came together to put Amendment 1 on the ballot, and then thousands more joined the fight to pass Amendment 1. It's truly a great day for Missouri."

LISTEN: The 41 Files Podcast crew offers instant analysis from Tuesday night's elections

Missouri voters also passed Proposition B, which raises the minimum wage, but rejected Proposition D, which would have imposed a 10-cent increase in the gas tax to fund repairs to the state’s crumbling infrastructure.

But Amendment 1 is the headline grabber.

It will drastically change the way the Show-Me State draws its voting district in 2021, which is required by federal law after each U.S. Census. The next census is in 2020.

Amendment 1 also prohibits former state legislators and Missouri General Assembly members from becoming paid lobbyists for a period of two years and limits lobbyists gifts to legislators to $5 or less.

Political candidates and their campaign committees also face more strict contribution limits — $2,500 for a state senator and $2,000 for a state representative.

Redistricting will be handled by a newly created “non-partisan state demographer.”

The Missouri State Auditor, which will remain Democrat Nicole Galloway after she won reelection Tuesday night in a close race versus Republican candidate Saundra McDowell, will select at least three nominees.

The majority and minority leaders of the legislature can reach a consensus on a nominee, the person shall be appointed.

If not, the majority and minority leaders each can remove one-third of the candidates nominated then a random lottery of the remaining candidates will determine the demographer.

The current bipartisan system is run by party insiders and political consultants, according to Clean Missouri Amendment 1 Communications Director Benjamin Singer, but the new system aims to eliminate partisan gerrymandering:

“Amendment 1 does three important things to end gerrymandering in Missouri. One, it adds transparency. Instead of having maps drawn behind closed doors, it brings it out into the public, requires public testimony and ensures all data are subject to the Sunshine Law.

Two, it requires clear, transparent criteria — including making Missouri a national leader in protecting minority representation; and ensuring that no party is given an unfair advantage; and following city and county lines when possible; and keeping compact, contiguous districts.

Third, it adds independence to the process. Instead of just party insiders drawing the maps, it adds an independent expert who draws the first version of the maps, which are then reviewed by a citizen commission.” (Singer)

It requires all meetings and documents for the redistricting process be subject to state open-records laws.

A huge majority of Missourians — nearly 62 percent — endorsed the amendment, which will become state law once the election results are certified later this year.

Other highlights from Tuesday’s election:

  • Amendment 4 passed with more than 52 percent of the vote. It removes language that restricts advertising of bingo games, and allows licensed members of organizations that conduct bingo games to manage those games after six months of training with the organization instead of two years.
  • Proposition B passed with nearly 62 percent of the vote. It increases the state minimum wage to $8.65 with increases of $0.85 per year until 2023, when the state minimum wage will be $12. Government employees are exempt from the law and the penalty for employers who violate the law will increase. The initial increase goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Proposition D failed by more than 180,000 votes. It would have increased the state gasoline tax by 2 1/2 cents for four years beginning July 1, 2019, with the revenue going to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local governments for road construction and maintenance.