Amendment 1 will be on the November ballot to clean up Missouri politics. It bans most lobbyist gifts to legislators, lowers contribution limits for state house and senate races, requires state government to be more transparent, improves the system for drawing legislative maps after each census, and makes other needed reforms. Click here for a League fact sheet on redistricting reform.
“Amendment 1 is our chance to increase fairness, integrity and transparency in government,” says LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell. “Year after year, politicians are re-elected with big money, in districts drawn by politicians and party insiders. Amendment 1 limits the influence of special interests in the legislature and ensures no party is given an unfair advantage when redistricting occurs after the next census. Amendment 1 establishes clear, transparent criteria to ensure fair and competitive maps, which are reviewed by a citizens’ commission.”
Amendment 1 sets the following criteria, in order of priority, for drawing new legislative seats after each census:
– Make districts as equal in population as practicable;
– Comply with requirements of U.S. Constitution and applicable federal laws, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
– Promote partisan fairness, which would be defined as parties being able to translate their popular support into legislative representation with about equal efficiency;
– Promote competitiveness, which would be defined as parties’ representation in the state legislature being similarly responsive to changes in the electorate’s preferences;
– Create districts composed of contiguous territory;
– Create districts which coincide with the boundaries of political subdivisions of the state; and
– Create districts compact in form.
Several League leaders spoke at news conferences across the state in August to share their reasons to support Amendment 1. Pictured below is the Jefferson City event where LWV President Kathleen Boswell, Secretary Louise Wilkerson and board member Marilyn McLeod spoke. Click here for news coverage of the Springfield news conference.
“The League’s position is that political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select voters, rather than allowing voters to elect their officials,” Marilyn McLeod said. “Amendment 1 is our chance to clean up state politics.”
Minimum Wage Position Approved
At the May 4 meeting, the State Board accepted as the LWVMO position the St. Louis study group’s recommendations to support raising the minimum wage to advance self-sufficiency for individuals and families.
Seven of the eight local League of Women Voters are supporting Raise Up Missouri’s initiative that will be on the ballot in November as Proposition B. It would raise Missouri’s minimum wage to 8.60 in 2019, $9.45 in 2020, $10.30 in 2021, $11.15 in 2022, and $12 an hour in 2023. This increase is estimated to positively affect 23 percent of Missouri’s population.
Missouri sends 20 delegates to LWVUS 53rd biennial convention
Twenty women from Missouri enjoyed Creating a More Perfect Democracy, the 2018 National Convention at the Chicago Hilton. The jam-packed schedule included extensive plenary sessions on the 2018-20 Program and Budget.
Thanks to Mary Merritt, LWV Missouri sold about $6,500 worth of merchandise. State President Kathleen Boswell dressed as a suffragist and took photos of National President Chris Carson, LWVUS Board Member Deborah Turner and many other Leaguers in front of our backdrop.
Banquet speaker Elaine Weiss, the author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote., inspired the audience with details of how Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul and others worked to get the Tennessee Legislature to adopt the 19th Amendment in 1920. Weiss is pictured in the slideshow below with Admin. Mgr. Jean Dugan.
Other delegates from Missouri were Cheryl Barnes, Donna Hoch, Evelyn Maddox and Pauline Testerman (Kansas City), Jill Young (SEMO), Meredith Donaldson and Sharon Schneeberger (Columbia), Angie Dunlap, Debby Howard, Nancy Miller and her granddaughter Bella White, Jennifer Rushing, Sydell Shayer, Catherine Stenger and Louise Wilkerson (St. Louis), Joan Gentry and Lorraine Sandstrom (SWMO).
Mexico hosts state board meeting after spring conference in KC
The state board met in Mexico, MO, on July 20-21. Thanks to Sharon Swon for making the arrangements. The board scheduled a fall board meeting in Columbia on Sept. 14, an educational fall workshop in Sedalia Nov. 9-10 and the LWVMO Spring Convention in St. Louis May 3-4, 2019.
Kansas City hosted a lovely and informative spring conference on May 5. LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell presented the Rachel Farr Fitch Award to Chris Stewart from Katy Trail Health in Sedalia. The keynote speaker was retired Brigadier General Christopher King, Ph.D., who shared why climate change is a national security issue. A luncheon panel focused on gun violence. Attorney Jean Maneke gave an update on the Missouri Sunshine Law and Anatolij Gelimson shared features of fastdemocracy.com, a free bill tracking service. Attendees could chose from three breakout Sessions: Fundraising, League Basics for Everyone or Useful Technology.
The Equal Rights Amendment – Hearing Held Feb. 20
The Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee held a hearing on SCR 41, a resolution to ratify the ERA. The League was one of many groups to testify in support of the ERA.
The proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) states that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. After the 19th Amendment affirming women’s right to vote was ratified in 1920, suffragist leader Alice Paul introduced the ERA in 1923 as the next step in bringing “equal justice under law” to all citizens.
In 1972, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by only 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution. The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline, and beginning in 1994, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification: the traditional process described in Article V of the Constitution (passage by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states), and the innovative “three-state strategy” (ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA in 1972-82, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this process could withstand legal challenge and accomplish ratification of the ERA).
Nevada passed the ERA in 2017 and Illinois passed it in 2018. Only one more state is needed. Why not Missouri?