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Editorial: Are we clean yet?

At the beginning of last month, Show-Me State voters passed Amendment 1, also known as Clean Missouri, by a nearly 2-1 margin. Eighty percent of Missouri counties voted in favor of the amendment. To refresh your memory, Clean Missouri is a George Soros-backed ethics reform bill that: 

• lowers campaign contributions [a very little bit] 

• increases legislative transparency [sort of]

• reduces the influence of lobbyists [quite a bit, actually]

• changes the way that legislative district maps are drawn [a whole bunch]

Per the will of the voters, most of these changes are scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 6. Per the will of some legislators and their lawyers, however, don’t hold your breath.

Prior to the November election, there were legal challenges to certain provisions of Clean Missouri. Most notably, the requirement that the records of individual lawmakers be made subject to the Sunshine Law and the redistricting portion of the amendment faced scrutiny. Those challenges were heard by the courts, and the amendment was allowed on the ballot.

Now, the same entities who worked to keep the amendment off the ballot are working to keep the new laws from getting off the ground. All options, they say, are on the table.

Prior to the election, this publication recommended voting “No” on Amendment 1. The voters disagreed with us. The same things that are being challenged now gave us heartburn then.

Anything backed by George Soros makes us cringe. There are legitimate First Amendment questions raised by the Sunshine Law provisions. The redistricting changes are an over-baked solution in search of a legitimate problem. But more egregious than any of those concerns is the idea of ignoring the will of the voters.

We prefer to believe that the voters were not tricked or hoodwinked. They were faced with a choice, they understood their options and they pulled a lever. Do we like the lever they pulled? No, but we respect the fact that they showed up and were counted. 

We suspect that there will be individual challenges to certain provisions in Clean Missouri. This is not uncommon with sweeping legislation, but we urge lawmakers to remember that – like it or not – the voters made their choice very clear.

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