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Politically Speaking: Clean Missouri proponents contend ballot initiative will cleanse the state

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

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.

Organizers turned in more than 300,000 signatures for Clean Missouri, making it likely that it will appear on the November ballot later this year. Some of the elements of the Clean Missouri proposal include:

  • Barring food, entertainment and travel to lawmakers that lobbyists pay for.
  • Setting up a two-year “revolving door” ban against legislators becoming lobbyists.
  • Declaring the lawmakers’ emails are public records, which would make them obtainable through Sunshine law requests.
  • Slightly lowering campaign donation limits for Senate and House candidates. It also makes it difficult for a large donor to set up multiple political action committees to get around limits.
  • Sets up a “nonpartisan demographer” to draw state legislative districts under specific criteria. Currently, bipartisan commissions are in charge of coming up with new Missouri General Assembly districts. Those commission could change the demographer’s suggestions if seven out of 10 members agree.

Most of the money for the initiative came from left-of-center organizations and labor unions. But the measure does have the support of conservative Republicans like Schaaf and Lembke, who contend it will go a long way toward overhauling how Missouri government works.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Sean Soendker Nicholson on Twitter: @ssnich

Follow Rob Schaaf on Twitter: @robschaaf

Follow Jim Lembke on Twitter: @LembkeJim

Music: "The Sun is Shining" by Bob Marley

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.