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After careful study, LWVMO endorsed Clean Missouri’s ballot initiative in 2017. Using grants from the LWVUS Education Fund and the Election Reformers Network, LWVMO is advocating for Amendment 1 and its changes to how legislative district maps would be drawn after each census.
“Amendment 1 is our chance to increase fairness, integrity and transparency in government,” says LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell (pictured at left below at an August news conference). “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 interest groups and ensures no party is given an unfair advantage when redistricting occurs after the next census. Amendment 1 establishes clear, transparent criteria for a nonpartisan demographer to draw fair and competitive maps to be reviewed by a citizens’ commission that will hold public hearings.”
Amendment 1 includes strong language making racial fairness central to the drawing of legislative districts. It sets clear criteria for drawing new maps:
– 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.
“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.”
Besides improves the system for drawing fair maps, Amendment 1 bans most lobbyist gifts to legislators, lowers contribution limits for state house and senate races, requires state government to be more transparent, and makes other needed reforms. For more information and the complete text of the Constitutional amendment, go to www.cleanmissouri.org.
Seven of the eight local Leagues in Missouri are supporting Prop B to advance self-sufficiency for individuals and families. Prop B increases the state minimum wage by 85 cents an hour each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2023. The current state minimum wage is $7.85 an hour, which is not a living wage (defined as what an individual needs to pay for food, housing medical, child care, transportation, taxes and other basic needs). Prop B would account for changes in the Consumer Price Index after 2023 and penalize employers who do not pay their workers minimum wage. Minimum pay would also increase for restaurant staff and other exempt workers (51 percent of the minimum wage in 2019 rising to 60 percent in 2024). Government employers and businesses with annual gross income less than $500,000 are not required to pay the state minimum wage.
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. 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).
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?