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Judge strips Clean Missouri ethics push from November ballot, backers vow to appeal

Judge strips Clean Missouri ethics push from November ballot, backers vow to appeal


JEFFERSON CITY • A Cole County judge on Friday ruled that the scope of an ethics-reform package destined for voter consideration was too broad and needed to be removed from the November ballot.

Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled that Amendment 1, sponsored by the group Clean Missouri, dealt with too many subjects, in violation of the state constitution.

Backers of Amendment 1 vowed to appeal. A spokeswoman in the secretary of state’s office said the November ballot must be finalized by Sept. 25.

“We’ll be appealing immediately,” Chuck Hatfield, Clean Missouri’s attorney, said in a statement. “The Secretary of State properly certified the measure so that voters may consider the measure, and voters will have their say on November 6.

“We have always thought that this legal matter would be decided at the Appeals Court level,” he said. “This is a speed bump, but the law is on our side, the people are on our side, and Amendment 1 will be passed in November to clean up Missouri politics.”

The referendum sponsored by the group Clean Missouri asks whether voters want to tighten campaign contribution limits, ban lobbyist gifts, institute a two-year “cooling off” period for lawmakers-turned-lobbyists, start a new redistricting system in 2020 and require lawmakers to adhere to the Sunshine Law.

Opponents sued to stop the initiative from appearing on the ballot last month. The redistricting proposal has drawn the most criticism from Republican opponents, who argue Democrats will unfairly gain too many seats following the 2020 Census.

Clean Missouri has nonetheless won the backing of a bipartisan group of politicians.

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