Rowden questions provisions, language in Amendment 1

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Senate Republicans signaled on Wednesday that one thing they hope to address this legislative session is Amendment 1, which voters passed in November.

Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said portions of the Constitutional amendment, which supporters called "Clean Missouri," are "poorly written."

"I think we're going to have to come back, and we're going to have to make some changes to it that aren't necessarily designed to change the intent, but are designed to make it to where it actually functionally does what the folks want it to do," Rowden said.

He said there are "generalities" and "bad references" in the provisions concerning banning most gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers and changes to the sunshine law.

Sean Soendker Nicholson, who was the campaign manager for Clean Missouri, said the language in Amendment 1 is "very clear." 

"I'm not sure what they're afraid of," Nicholson said of lawmakers who are trying to make changes to the amendment. "But they need to start following the same rules as everyone else in the state."

Amendment 1 changes the way state legislative maps are drawn. Under the amendment, a "non-partisan state demographer" would develop procedures for drawing the maps.

Rowden called the redistricting provision "terrible policy."

"I don't think anything's off the table," he said.

In an interview with KOMU 8 News on Saturday, Republican Gov. Mike Parson said his biggest concern with Clean Missouri is its redistricting provisions. 

"We need to take a good look at that," Parson said.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, said whether or not she supports Republicans' clean-up to the measure depends on how they define it. 

Walsh said lawmakers should listen to what voters have said.

"I've seen other efforts where the folks in charge up here think that they know better than what the will of the people has been mandated after we've gone through an election process," she said.

House Minority Leader Crystal QuadeD-Springfield, said Democrats are committed to upholding the will of voters.

"Among all things, we have a respect for our voters. Overwhelmingly, folks supported or pushed against the various ballot initiatives," Quade said.

Amendment 1 passed in November with support from 62 percent of voters.

Nicholson said anyone who wants to roll back Amendment 1 "needs to look and see what a clear mandate there was."