When I served as Joplin’s state senator, I helped pass limits on the fancy gifts politicians could take from lobbyists. Unfortunately, the Legislature repealed those rules after I left the senate.
Now, lawmakers are putting a deceptive measure on the ballot to protect themselves. I’m sorry to say our state Legislature has lost its way and lost touch with its own constituents, who will surely vote “no” on this cynical attack on voters.
In 2018, voters overwhelmingly passed Clean Missouri by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, winning in every state senate district. Clean Missouri requires more transparency and fairness in how legislative district maps are drawn. Instead of letting politicians and party insiders draw the maps, our constitution now requires a nonpartisan expert to use clear, transparent criteria to draw fair district maps. The maps are then reviewed by a citizen commission that must hold public hearings before it votes.
Unfortunately, legislators in Jefferson City are trying to protect themselves by undermining voters with Amendment 3, their deceptive “Dirty Missouri” proposal. They care more about getting reelected than being accountable to their constituents back home.
Amendment 3 would create safe districts for both Democrats and Republicans, making the outcomes of most elections foregone conclusions. This makes it extremely difficult for voters to hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public interest.
Amendment 3 would strip away the rules for drawing fair maps, including the elimination of the nonpartisan state demographer, and doom the process to secretive backrooms and political horse trading. Even worse, Missourians would no longer have the right to their day in court over any unfair maps.
Proponents of Amendment 3 assume they can sneak all this past the voters with distracting window dressing: lowering the cap on lobbyist gifts by only $5 and changing campaign contribution limits by 4%. Then in the fine print, they rig the maps to protect their own hides.
Don’t fall for these political tricks. Stand up against what President Ronald Reagan called the “national scandal” of gerrymandering, and say "no" to Amendment 3.
Marvin Singleton is a former state senator from Joplin and past president of the Missouri Republican Association.