UPDATE: Judge orders removal of Amendment 1 from November ballot

2 months 1 week 2 hours ago Friday, September 14 2018 Sep 14, 2018 Friday, September 14, 2018 11:53:00 AM CDT September 14, 2018 in News
By: Emma Claybrook, KOMU 8 News Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - A Cole County judge ordered the Missouri Secretary of State's office Friday to remove Amendment 1 from the November ballot.

"I think that Judge Green did get it right," said Sen. Bob Onder. "No one should be fooling Missouri voters in order to approve something they don’t understand and wouldn’t want if they did understand."

Amendment 1 was designed to change the Missouri Constitution with regards to lobbying, campaign finance limits and legislative redistricting. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft certified the measure for the November ballot in early August.

Some lawmakers said these laws about ethics need to be passed. 

"This was the opportunity because the public is demanding that we be ethical here in Jefferson City," said Sen. Jill Schupp. "I agree with them."

Two lawsuits filed against the measure claims it violates state law by having more than one subject, changes more than one article in the constitution, doesn't have all the information about what it would change and "is for a purpose not permitted under the Missouri Constitution, in that it would...violate the First Amendment" of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuits named the Secretary of State's office as defendant. Pro-Amendment 1 organization Clean Missouri joined the side of the defendants.

Judge Daniel Green sided with the plaintiffs on two counts, and with the defendants on two other counts. A fifth count was dismissed.

Clean Missouri is appealing the decision and said in a press release it will keep fighting. 

"This is a speed bump, but the law is on our side," it said. 

Onder said Clean Missouri is not about transparency but is a scheme using out-of-state dark money.
"Clean Missouri was an attempt to impose upon Missouri a radical new redistricting scheme that I call 'gerrymandering on steroids' as the guise of a transparency and ethics bill," he said. 

In his ruling, Green found petition violates state law by seeking to change more than one article of the Missouri Constitution.

"That law means that voters should not be confused and should not be deceived in approving something that they do not want to approve," Onder said. 

Schupp said this ruling is an attack on the Clean Missouri Amendment.

"I'm really concerned about what it means because it looks like it may not be on the ballot," she said. 

Green sided with the defendants on the question of whether the petition failed "to bracket all deleted matter, underline all new matter, and set forth the full and correct text of the measure." He said while the plaintiffs were technically correct in their claim, "the errors identified by Plaintiffs are tantamount to scrivener's errors...[and] the Court will not prevent voters from considering an initiative petition based on 'punctuation and grammar if the purpose of the provision may otherwise be determined.'"

Green dismissed the last count regarding the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, saying pre-election challenges "are limited to claims that the procedures for submitting a proposal to the voters were not followed."

He ordered Ashcroft to "rescind and withdraw his certification of sufficiency of the Petition and issue a certificate of insufficiency for the Petition" and prohibited "all other officers from printing the measure on the ballot."

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