By Benjamin Singer in Blog Post, News Posted May 8, 2018
TV, radio, and newspaper outlets all over our state covered the Clean Missouri coalition’s historic signature turn-in of 346,956 signatures on Thursday, May 3 to increase integrity, transparency, and accountability in government.
Here are some of the highlights. Click the outlet name to see the full story.
Kansas City Star
Missouri lawmakers won’t clean up government corruption. Voters should do it for them
By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board
May 3, 2018
The vote can’t come soon enough. As recent events have shown, Missouri is one of the most unethical states in the union. And lawmakers have shown little willingness to address the problem. …
These reforms are essential. The revolving door between the floors of the General Assembly and lobbying jobs turns constantly. …
Opposition to the Clean Missouri reforms is already gathering. This should not be a surprise. In a state where Eric Greitens still serves as governor, resistance to ethical government is predictable. …
Voters, not lawmakers, need to wash the mud from Missouri government. They’ll almost certainly get the chance this year.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Messenger: Thursday was spring cleaning day in Missouri’s capital city
Tony Messenger – May 4, 2018
Republican Joe Ortwerth of St. Peters and Democrat Doug Harpool of Springfield, … in 1991, after Ashcroft’s measure failed to make the ballot, pushed for the law that ultimately created the Missouri Ethics Commission.
It wasn’t strong enough, and that’s why Clean Missouri is back at it today, with a proposal supported by liberals and conservatives alike.
One of those conservatives, former state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, offered a bit of a mea culpa the other day. In a column in the Post-Dispatch that supported the Clean Missouri effort, Lembke, who was known for taking lobbyists’ gifts during his time in the Legislature, wrote this:
“I saw things go off the rails in 2017, with lobbyist gifts reaching an all-time high: over $1 million worth,” wrote Lembke, currently a legislative aide to Schaaf. “Looking back, if I got the opportunity to serve again, I’d do it differently, and it’s time for Clean Missouri to reform the system once and for all.” …
Voters will get their chance in November.
KMOV (CBS) – St. Louis, MO
CBS This Morning
Today a group of volunteers will be pushing in Jefferson City pushing for stricter limits on lawmakers. … It would lower campaign contribution limits, require politician to wait two years to becoming lobbyists, and require that legislative records be open to the public. The group is hoping to get the amendment on the November ballot.
Ballot petition supports open records and limits on lobbying, donations
May 3, 2018
State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, addressed the ballot petition from the Senate floor Thursday.
Schaaf has been a vocal advocate of lobbying reform.
“This body had an opportunity to address the issue and didn’t do it,” Schaaf said. “People in Missouri are fed up with this.” …
The Rev. Cassandra Gould, pastor at Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Jefferson City and executive director of Missouri Faith Voices, said Thursday that lobbyists, large donors and small groups of political insiders have too much influence in the Capitol.
“When I think of what goes on in Jefferson City, I’m reminded of the prophet Amos,” Gould said. “(Amos) said, ‘For I know your crimes are many, and your sins are innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take bribes, and deprive the poor of justice at the city gates.’”
She said the people of Missouri are united to end “systemic corruption” in the Missouri legislature.
Khadijah Wilson, a leader with the Organization for Black Struggle, said she believes the amendment will make it possible for more people to run for office.
“Too often, the only people running for political offices are the rich or the well-connected, or the people who cave to special interests,” Wilson said. “This amendment levels the playing field.”
John Saxton, a St. Louis Republican who ran twice for the Missouri House of Representatives, advocated for the state demographer position that the ballot measure would establish. Under the proposal, the demographer would be chosen by the Senate majority and minority leaders from a list of at least three candidates offered by the state auditor.
“Year after year, insiders draw lines to protect and reelect powerful incumbents, whether or not they represent the public interest,” Saxton said. “Most districts in our state are not competitive.” …
Callaway County farmer Jeff Jones said he talks to his legislators about agricultural policy.
“But the legislative leadership takes millions of dollars in big-money donations,” said Jones, who is a leader with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center. “They have not been hearing my voice.”
Clean Missouri submits 346K signatures for initiative petition dealing with ethical issues in legislature
By Alisha Shurr – MAY 3, 2018
“Lobbyists and a small group of big donors have too much control over Missouri state government,” said Rev. Cassandra Gould of Jefferson City. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re going to make our state government more transparent, limit the power of big money in our legislature, and make sure we can hold legislators accountable when they fail to act in the public’s interest.”
“We’re not waiting on the politicians and lobbyists to fix themselves,” said Jeff Jones, a [fourth]-generation farmer in Callaway County. “We can all see how big money drives the agenda in Jefferson City, and we’ve had enough.”
KMOX-AM (Radio) – St. Louis, MO
News at 5
5/3/2018 5:08 PM
Khadijah Wilson from Saint Louis is a leader with the Organization for Black Struggle. “This amendment levels the playing field, making it easier for citizens to run for office. That is good for Missouri’s democracy, and we need more regular people looking out for us.”
KOMU (NBC) – Columbia, MO
KOMU News at Five
5/3/2018 5:05 PM
Martin Tennant from Kansas City: “I really feel as though I’ve been a small part of a really historic change in Missouri, and a change for the better. I’m really looking forward to seeing seeing the positive effects this initiative has, on the way Missouri is run.”
Fulton Sun & Jefferson City News Tribune
Clean Missouri petitioners turn in about 347,000 signatures
May 4, 2018 by Joe Gamm
Rev. Cassandra Gould … said the activities that occur in Jefferson City remind her of the words of the prophet Amos, who said: “For I know your crimes are many and your sins are innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take bribes and deprive the poor of justice at the city gates.”
Among speakers was Jeff Jones, a farmer from Callaway County who said he has been discussing agriculture policy with legislative leaders but they have not listened. Legislative leaders take millions of dollars from big agriculture and don’t hear his voice, he said.
Elizabeth Davidson, of St. Louis County, said she wants legislators to focus on solutions to everyday Missourians’ concerns, such as health care. Instead, she said, they cater to lobbyists who push extreme agendas, some of whom gave more than a million dollars in gifts to legislators last year.
“No matter which party you support, that isn’t right,” Davidson said. …
John Bohney, of St. Louis, gathered more than 1,600 signatures for the petition. He said the initiative is a chance to increase integrity in government.
“Together, we can take back power from special interests and give it to the people,” Bohney said.
KOMU (NBC) – Columbia, MO
KOMU News at Six
Laura Umphenour from Springfield: “We will be excited about voting again, and we will be excited about being a part of our government, and how we are going to direct missouri in the future – how the people are gonna direct Missouri.”
KRCG (CBS) – Columbia, MO
KRCG 13 Live at 6 PM
A group that wants to ban a lobbyist gifts to Missouri lawmakers has turned in nearly 347,000 signatures to get a question on November’s ballot that would let voters decide the issue. The ballot initiative by Clean Missouri would make it subject to the states open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions, and change ow legislative districts are drawn.
KQFX (FOX) – Columbia, MO
ABC17 News at 9 on Fox 22
A group that wants to ban lobbyists gifts turned in thousands of signatures today to get a question on November’s ballot. The initiative, submitted by the organization Clean Missouri, would also make state lawmakers’ records open to Missouri’s open records law and it would lower campaign contributions. Right now, there are no limits on lobbyists gifts and lawmakers are exempt from the open records law.
WGEM (NBC) – Quincy, IL
WGEM News Today
There’s a push to make big changes to politics in Jefferson City. Yesterday a group called Clean Missouri submitted signatures to get a question that would ban most lobbyist gifts to lawmakers on the November ballot, letting voters decide. The ballot initiative would also make lawmakers’ records subject to the state’s open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions, and change how legislative districts are drawn.
KTTN – Trenton, MO
Missouri voters to decide on initiative targeting corruption in government
Rev. Cassandra Gould said there is agreement that political insiders, big donors, and lobbyists wield too much influence in state government. So her group is fighting to take back control and even the playing field for all Missourians.
“I would say that there is overwhelming – on both sides of the aisle – there is an overwhelming, unified response to being able to do this,” she said.
The amendment also would require legislative records be open to the public to boost transparency. Signatures were collected from all of Missouri’s 114 counties.
FOX2NOW St. Louis via Associated Press
Signatures submitted to ban lobbyist gifts, cap donations
May 3, 2018
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A group that wants to ban lobbyist gifts to Missouri lawmakers has turned in signatures to get a question on November’s ballot that would let voters decide the issue. …
Currently, there are no limits on lobbyist gifts, although they must be reported, and lawmakers are exempt from the open records law.
Southeast Missourian via Associated Press
May 4, 2018
The ballot initiative, submitted Thursday by an organization called Clean Missouri, would also make lawmakers’ records subject to the state’s open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions and change how legislative districts are drawn. It would ban lobbyist gifts over $5.
KCTV (CBS) – Kansas City
News at 4
May 4, 2018
In Missouri, a group that wants to ban most lobbyist gifts to lawmakers has turned in signatures to get a question on November’s ballot. The ballot initiative is by an organization called Clean Missouri. It would also make lawmakers’ records subject to the state’s open records law, lower limits on campaign contributions and change how legislative districts are drawn.