Before it had a chance to gain momentum, the Amendment 1, Clean Missouri, movement has been temporarily stopped in its tracks.
On Friday, a Cole County judge ruled the ballot measure covers too many issues, is unconstitutional and will be removed from the November ballot.
Attorneys for Amendment 1 will be in court Thursday, Sept. 20, to argue the merits of the referendum which was approved for the ballot by the secretary of state’s office after more than 346,000 citizens signatures were obtained.
The group has until Sept. 28 to attempt to overturn the judge’s ruling and have the measure reinstated before the Nov. 6 general election.
In late August, the Amendment 1 movement chose Washington for the kickoff of its fall campaign.
According to the group, a vote for Amendment 1 would:
• Lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates ($2,500 for state Senate and $2,000 for House).
• Eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts in the General Assembly by banning any gift over $5.
• Require that legislative records be open to the public.
• Require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.
Another major focus of the movement is redistricting Missouri House and Senate districts after the next census.
The group contends redistricting is necessary so that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn,
The group is advocating the state auditor to appoint a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps using existing regional borders and common sense.
Adding criteria for fairness and competitiveness of the overall map, which will be reviewed by a citizen commission, would keep compact and contiguous districts, he added.
At a press forum Friday, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, D-Columbia, said she was supportive of the amendment, although she wasn’t sure the referendum would make it to the ballot.
“It’s a fight to clean up Jefferson City,” Galloway said. “I support movements that do that.”
Her Republican opponent in November, Saundra McDowell, said she is thankful for the decision.
“Amendment 1 would be devastating for Missouri,” McDowell said. “It would politicize the office of auditor, which needs to remain neutral.”
The group stated the initiative is being funded by more than 25,000 donations of about $100 each.
According to the Missouri Ethics Commission July quarterly report, Clean Missouri has spent more than $1.6 million thus far in this election cycle drumming up support for the proposed ethics reform.
The same report shows it has a bit more than $184,000 on hand as of mid-July.