By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A state senator says the Clean Missouri amendment approved by voters in November of 2018 might need some cleaning up.
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer of Parkville focuses on one specific piece of the voter-approved initiative: redistricting.
Luetkemeyer believes Clean Missouri received 62% of the vote, because of its ethics reforms.
“The piece in there that the proponents really wanted, though, which they never talked about, were the redistricting aspects of it,” Luetkemeyer tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline.
Clean Missouri instructs the state demographer to create state senate and representative districts which promote partisan fairness and competitiveness.
“How do you accomplish that?” Luetkemeyer asks, “Well, what you have to do is you have to draw these highly gerrymandered districts in order to do it.”
Luetkemeyer asserts it wasn’t a coincidence that Clean Missouri chose the state demographer for the assignments since the position is appointed by the state Auditor, the only statewide office currently held by a Democrat. Auditor Nicole Galloway is running for governor. Provisions in the Clean Missouri initiative call for state House and Senate districts to be compact in form, contiguous, follow political subdivisions, and that the overall map of districts should promote “partisan fairness and competitiveness.”
Luetkemeyer says the provision requiring state senate and representative districts to be competitive between Republicans and Democrats is unrealistic in a state which leans heavily Republican.
“What you’re going to do is you’re going to have to draw large swaths of rural areas into inner city St. Louis, into inner city Kansas City, into Columbia because that’s the only way that you can achieve a purple bipartisan district,” according to Luetkemeyer.
Luetkemeyer says Republicans plan to resend voters a modified Clean Missouri plan.
“It is the redistricting piece that is so troubling to me and to many of my colleagues,” Luetkemeyer says. “And so, I think if we go back to voters and we say, look, you have an opportunity to get rid of lobbyist’s gifts, you’ve got an opportunity to lower campaign contributions limits even further than they are right now, and oh by the way, we’re going to let you reset the clock on redistricting so that you can now make sure that you’re going to have good local representation of people who share your values. I think voters are probably going to say yes to that.”
Luetkemeyer reasons voters approved Clean Missouri, because of its ethics provisions. He claims Democrats slipped in the redistricting provision with little explanation.