SJR 38 was truly agreed to and finally passed (TAFP’d) after several hours of debate Wednesday, putting Clean Missouri before voters once again.
SJR 38 would make changes to the voter-approved Clean Missouri, ban lobbyist gifts to legislators altogether, and lower campaign contribution limits. It also includes provisions on redistricting.
Debate over the bill was extensive and included passionate discussion covering the legitimacy of the issue in the time of a pandemic, gerrymandering, partisanship in actions meant to be nonpartisan, conflicts along party lines, and racial representation and power in the voting process.
“I’m not gonna sit idly by as Missourians get run over by billionaires and special interests,” House handler Rep. Dean Plocher said in his closing statement.
The ballot language does not include a fiscal note, which means it will be up to State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, to draft one.
The resolution has been controversial in the legislature, having gone through an extensive filibuster in the Senate in January before being passed on to the House three weeks later.
After three hours of debate, the House voted. It was TAFP’d with a vote of 98-58.
“House Republicans again proved today that the only thing they care about is clinging to political power,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in a statement. “With COVID-19 cases and deaths still rising and the long process of rebuilding Missouri’s economy in its earliest stages, lawmakers should focus on protecting lives and restoring jobs. Instead, House Republicans’ top priority is reversing voter-approved government reforms that put the interests of Missourians ahead of the interests of politicians.”
The Clean Missouri campaign said:
“An overwhelming bipartisan majority of voters delivered a mandate for fair maps and fair redistricting in the last election. Before the polls even closed in 2018, some politicians and lobbyists were scheming to overturn the will of these voters — and to replace voter-approved reforms with some of the most extreme map-rigging policies in the country.
The politicians pushing the deceptive Dirty Missouri amendment have ignored their constituents’ mandate for fair maps. They’ve ignored the growing bipartisan opposition to their radical plan. They’ve ignored public statements from one of their own leaders that their amendment has ‘errors.’ And they’ve ignored the ongoing public health and jobs crisis as they chose to focus instead on their outrageous politician-protection plan.
If this amendment survives legal challenges and appears on the ballot later this year, voters will once against deliver a clear mandate for fair maps — by rejecting the politicians’ gerrymandering scheme.”
Republicans have argued the original Clean Missouri was too broad and voters weren’t quite familiar with everything included in the amendment. Lawmakers said they’ve heard from constituents who wanted ethics reform but not the sweeping changes to redistricting.
“This would give the voters another opportunity to weigh in on this monumental change that could have ramifications for years, if not generations,” Sen. Dan Hegeman, the resolution’s sponsor, has said.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.