HJR 48 Proposes constitutional amendments regulating the legislature to limit the influence of partisan or other special interests

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Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -

HCS/HJRs 48, 46, & 47 - This constitutional amendment, if adopted by the voters, makes modifications to Article III, regulating the General Assembly.


Current law allows a member of the General Assembly or a person employed by the General Assembly to receive a gift of no more than $5 per occurrence from a lobbyist or lobbyist principal. This amendment prohibits all such gifts from lobbyists or lobbyist principals.


The amendment provides that in any election to the office of State Senator, the amount of contributions made to or accepted by any candidate or candidate committee from any person other than the candidate shall not exceed $2,000.


Independent Bipartisan Citizen Commissions

Under current law, the nonpartisan state demographer is responsible for preparing new plans of apportionment for the House of Representatives and the Senate. This amendment repeals the post of nonpartisan state demographer (page 4-5) and gives all reapportionment responsibility to the currently-existing apportionment commissions, renamed as the House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission and the Senate Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission, respectively. (pages 6 and 19, respectively) The membership of each commission is modified such that each commission shall consist of members to be appointed by the Governor from lists provided by the state committee and Congressional district committees of each of the two political parties casting the highest vote for Governor at the last preceding gubernatorial election. For each commission, each state committee shall submit a list of 5 nominees to the Governor and each Congressional district committee shall submit a list of 2 nominees to the Governor. The Governor shall select 2 nominees from each list submitted by each state committee and 1 nominee from each list submitted by each Congressional district committee. No member of either commission may be a member of the other commission. (Pages 11-12 and 17-18, respectively)

Apportionment Criteria

The order of priority for the criteria that is to be used in preparing plans of apportionment is modified as follows:

1. No district shall be drawn in a manner which would result in the denial or abridgment of the right of any person to vote on account of race or color. Furthermore, no district shall be drawn such that members of a community of protected citizens have less of an opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. (Page 7)

2. Districts shall be as nearly equal as practicable in population and shall be drawn on the basis of one person, one vote. Districts shall not deviate from the ideal population by more than one percent, provided that deviation may be by up to three percent if necessary to follow political subdivision lines. (Page 6)

3. Districts must be established in a manner that complies with all requirements of federal law, specifically including the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (Pages 6-7)

4. Districts must consist of contiguous territory as compact as may be, to the extent permitted in conjunction with the above criterion. (Pages 8-9)

5. To the extent permitted in conjunction with the above criterion, communities must be preserved, as described further in the amendment. (Page 9)

6. Districts must be apportioned to achieve partisan fairness and competitiveness, provided that all preceding criteria shall take precedence. Furthermore, current law provides that, in any plan of apportionment, the difference between the total "wasted votes" of the two major political parties divided by the total votes cast for such parties shall be as close to zero as practicable. This amendment modifies that requirement by prohibiting such difference from exceeding 15%. (Pages 10-11)

Apportionment Timeline

Each commission must file a tentative plan of apportionment and proposed maps with the Secretary of State within 5 months of appointment. A final statement of such plan and maps must be filed within 6 months. If either commission fails to file its plan of apportionment with the Secretary of State within such time period, then the commission failing to do so shall stand discharged and the respective chamber of the General Assembly shall be apportioned by a commission of six members appointed by the Supreme Court from among the judges of the appellate courts of the state of Missouri. (Pages 15 and 20, respectively)

Actions Challenging Plans of Apportionment

Any action expressly or implicitly alleging that a plan of apportionment violates the Missouri Constitution, federal law, or the United States Constitution must be filed in the Circuit Court of Cole County and shall name the respective commission that approved the challenged plan of apportionment as a defendant. Only an eligible Missouri voter who sustains an individual injury by virtue of residing in a district that exhibits the alleged violation, and whose injury is remedied by a differently drawn district, shall have standing. If the court renders a judgment in which it finds that a completed plan of apportionment exhibits the alleged violation, its judgment shall adjust only those districts, and only those parts of district boundaries, necessary to bring the map into compliance. The Supreme Court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction upon the filing of a notice of appeal within ten days after the judgment has become final. (Pages 16 and 21, respectively)

Public Availability of Apportionment Records

The amendment allows the General Assembly to enact laws ensuring the public availability of all apportionment records. (Page 21)

This resolution is similar to SJR 29 (2019).


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