Missouri House passes bill with intent to undo parts of 'Clean Missouri' amendment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- "They tried to sell it as ethics reform, they tried to sell it as a gift ban, they tried to sell it as transparency. That's anything what it was," said Rep. Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres.

Plocher says his legislation that passed it's first vote in the House 100-49 Tuesday is actually what he says Clean Missouri should have been.

"This is a little more along the lines of transparency," Plocher said on the House floor. "This is a little bit more sincere about what transparency is. This makes that amendment now whole."

What Plocher's bill does is change how Clean Missouri outlined a new process for redrawing legislative districts.

Before Clean Missouri passed in November, either a commission split equally between Republicans and Democrats, or a group of appellate judges are the ones who can make new redistricting maps.

Now, under Clean Missouri, this would be handled by a non-partisan demographer, initially vetted and examined by the State Auditor.

Right now, the State Auditor is Nicole Galloway, the only democrat to hold a statewide office.

Under the proposal passed Tuesday in the House, redistricting would be done by a bipartisan panel of Missouri residents. This was proposed by Representative Curtis Trent, R-Springfield.

"It would require that any information that's collected by the commission, not only that it be disclosed to the public, but that we have a web portal that allows the public to easily access this information and it has disclosure requirements on who actually paid for the creation of that information," Trent said.

Representative Peter Merideth, a St. Louis City Democrat supported this idea, but did not vote for the amendment to pass.

"I again will not be supporting this bill because I don't think we should be undoing the will of the voters, but if we're going to do it, lets at least keep the piece of transparency that they put in place so voters will know if this [bi]partisan citizens commission is acting in a partisan way," Merideth said.

This proposal still needs a second vote in the House. If it's approved again, it will head to the Senate for approval, before being placed on a ballot for the people to decide.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The initial version of this article, and the attached video incorrectly stated the State Auditor would appoint the demographer. The state auditor would do the initial vetting of that nonpartisan demographer, but would not appoint that person to do the redistricting.