Sean Soendker Nicholson | St. Louis Public Radio

Sean Soendker Nicholson

Missouri lawmakers will likely place a measure on the 2020 ballot to replace a state legislative redistricting system that voters approved in 2018.
Marta Payne I Special To St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters will almost certainly have another say this year on how state Senate and House districts are drawn.

They’ll choose between keeping a system they voted for in 2018, in which a demographer holds much of the power to draw maps, and a modified version of the old system.

It’s a debate that’s elicited national attention from redistricting enthusiasts and political parties, especially since the complex and wonky subject of mapmaking has an immense impact on how citizens are represented in government. 

Both the governor and Legislature in Missouri are in charge of the congressional redistricting process. But they're directly involved in approving state legislative maps.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

In many respects, Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision taking partisan gerrymandering cases out of the purview of federal courts has a mixed impact for Missouri.

On the one hand, the court’s majority opinion didn’t preclude states from adopting rules to curb maps that help one party or the other. It specifically mentioned a successful ballot initiative known as Clean Missouri that created a new redistricting system aimed at state House and Senate maps that emphasize partisan fairness.

But the decision could make it significantly harder to challenge Missouri’s congressional map for being skewed for a political party. Missouri’s Legislature and governor are responsible for coming up with congressional maps, where partisan gerrymandering is not specifically prohibited. Clean Missouri did not affect that process.

Just two months ago, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment to change how the state draws legislative boundaries. The state's lawmakers, who return to session this week, aren't having it and may seek to nix or rewrite the anti-gerrymandering law.

Missouri was one of four states where voters last year decided to make significant changes to the redistricting process in the name of curbing partisanship and reducing political influence on legislative and congressional maps.

Both the governor and Legislature in Missouri are in charge of the congressional redistricting process. But they're directly involved in approving state legislative maps.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies take a deep look at Amendment 1 on the latest edition of Political Speaking.

The measure, widely known as Clean Missouri, combines a host of ethics-related alterations with an overhaul of state legislative redistricting. Out of all the things on the Nov. 6 ballot, Clean Missouri is eliciting the most unusual political alliances.

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives throw their papers in the air to mark the end of the legislative session on Friday in Jefferson City.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Out of all the items on the Nov. 6 ballot, Clean Missouri is creating some of the most unusual partners in recent Missouri political history.

Proponents of the measure, on the ballot as Amendment 1, include left-of-center activists who helped write and fund the initiative, as well as some current and former GOP officials. Clean Missouri backers believe that the amendment will make lawmakers more responsive to people instead of special interest groups or lobbyists.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, former Sen. Jim Lembke and Sean Soendker Nicholson
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes Sean Soendker Nicholson, Sen. Rob Schaaf and former Sen. Jim Lembke to the program to talk about a ballot initiative known as “Clean Missouri.”

Clean Missouri is a multi-faceted ethics proposal that seeks to curb lobbyist-paid freebies, make it more difficult for lawmakers to become lobbyists, tweak campaign finance laws and, perhaps most notably, overhaul how state legislative districts are drawn.

Missouri candidates for statewide and legislative offices are having to learn the ropes of Amendment 2, which imposes campaign-donation restrictions.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Just over a year away from what could be a crucial 2018 election, Missouri candidates are grappling with the new restrictions to campaign donations mandated by the voter-approved measure known as Amendment 2.

Close to 70 percent of Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment in 2016, putting an end to the state’s 10-year status as one of only a handful of states without donation limits. But flaws in the new system are prompting the General Assembly and political activists to seek more changes.  

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, is one of two lawmakers that want to make it harder to get constitutional amendments on the ballot. He's sponsoring a measure requiring more signatures to get an amendment up for a vote through an initiative petition.
Tim Bommel | House Communications

When we last checked on the Missouri Constitution before the November election, it was roughly six to eight times bigger than the federal one – especially after three amendments were added to it in August. 

Flash forward to today and the Show Me State’s constitution is even bigger. Missourians added two amendments in November -- one limiting the governor’s budgetary powers and the other making it easier to prosecute people for sex crimes.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

When it comes to donating to Missouri candidates and causes, retired financier Rex Sinquefield may subscribe to the idea of “going big or going home.” 

This past election campaign is no exception. Sinquefield has  given out around $4.4 million so far this year to support ballot initiatives, candidates and friendly political groups. That money has flowed directly -- or through outside groups -- to a host of candidates who competed in last week’s primary elections.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2011 - Today, a coalition of various progressive groups is launching Progress Missouri, the latest state online affiliate of the national ProgressNow.

The executive director of the state operation is Sean Soendker Nicholson, a web designer who has been the major blogger and operator of Firedupmissouri.com, the Democratic-leaning website founded by former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo., and Democratic consultant Roy Temple.