Volunteers in the Clean Missouri Initiative recently submitted nearly 347,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office – more than double the amount needed to get their issues on a statewide ballot in November.
The initiative’s goal is to rid the state of corruption by giving voters the power to decide on limits to campaign contribution and institute a gift ban – preventing lobbyists from spending more than $5 on any single gift for an elected official. The Rev. Cassandra Gould, senior pastor at Quinn Chapel AME Church in Jefferson City, also is director of Missouri Faith Voices, which has rounded up volunteers to help gather signatures. She said money has too much influence in the legislative process.
“Often times, money is put over people,” Gould said. “And so I believe that this is an opportunity for a moral correction of the processes that go on now.”
If approved in November, the amendment also would call for a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, instead of it being left up to the influence of the political party in power at the time. The maps would then be reviewed by a citizen commission.
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.