How much will it cost to run a Constitutional Convention in Missouri?
68 senatorial district delegates- two from each of 34 districts– and 15 statewide delegates would be elected to the Constitutional Convention, a total of 73 delegates. The Missouri Senate has 34 senators and a Budget of $14,406,261.
Cost of the Constitutional Convention depends, in part, on how long they are in session. Unlike General Assembly, there’s no fixed adjournment date for Convention. Delegates will decide when they’re finished.
- In 1943, Constitutional Convention delegates were in session 215 days between September 21, 1943 and September 29, 1944.
- Constitutional Convention of 1861 lasted three years.
In addition to the $10 a day per diem*, Constitutional Convention delegates could set salaries and benefits for themselves. There’s nothing that says they cannot.
What the Constitution is very clear on is delegates decide their own budget, whatever they want for “employees and assistants” and “printing of its documents,” they get. There’s no appropriations process involved.
The Constitution says the Convention will take over General Assembly offices, meeting rooms, chambers. Where does the Missouri General Assembly do business during the Constitutional Convention?
Don’t forget to factor in hiring special counsel for lawsuits and consultants.
How much will a Constitutional Convention cost? A LOT, millions and millions and millions of dollars.
Do lobbyist, campaign finance, and conflict of interest laws apply to Constitutional Convention delegates?
Thinking about lobbyists rewriting the Missouri Constitution free of any regulation or transparency should scare you plenty. In Missouri, lobbyist registration and reports are required for lobbying the legislative branch, but that’s defined as Missouri House and Missouri Senate. There’s no requirement relating to lobbying Constitutional Convention delegates.
Are candidates for delegate and delegate at large subject to campaign finance laws? What about conflict of interest laws? It depends on definitions, such as definition of public official and public office. The Missouri Attorney General would have some say over it. That would be Eric Schmitt, one of the worst lawyers ever, the guy who looks to be turning loser frivolous lawsuits into a successful campaign for U.S. Senate, or his replacement appointed by Governor Mike Parson to fill vacancy.
It’s highly likely Christofascists will be in the majority at the Constitutional Convention
In the best case scenario, 34 Democrats and 34 Republicans would be elected by senatorial district and at least 8 of the 15 delegates at large elected statewide would be Democrats. That’s wishful thinking.
Delegate vacancies are going to happen and those vacancies will be filled by Governor Parson. The Constitution requires the political party of the delegate resigning to be matched in replacement. But, come on, we know how this will go. Any delicate balance of power would eventually dissolve in favor of Republicans.
A Constitution Party delegate could get elected instead of a Democrat in a heavily Republican senatorial district with a little coordination between Constitution Party and Republican Party.
Regardless of campaign finance laws, Rex Sinquefield, David Humphreys, and right wing PACs will run slates for the statewide delegate at large seats. Who are the big money Democrats in Missouri that are going to match that? There aren’t any.
District delegate nomination will be for political party insiders
Each political party– Democratic Party**, Republican Party, Constitution Party, Libertarian Party- has senatorial district committeepeople who serve on their state committee. These are the people who may (or choose not to) nominate someone for a district level Constitutional Convention delegate seat.
Each senatorial district party committee gets one nominee. At the delegate election, each voter may pick one political party ballot and vote for their party’s nominee. The delegate candidates with the two highest votes become delegates. No Independent candidates or Write Ins.
Who do you know that can afford to run for a Constitutional Convention delegate position without knowing if there’s a salary that goes with it, how many days a week is required, or how long service will last?
The Governor can set the delegate election for the lowest possible turnout
Constitutional Convention delegates will be chosen in a special election held between February and May of 2023 (three to six months after November 8th election). According to the Secretary of State, there are three elections in that period. February 7th may be used for bond issues and only bond issues. March 7th may be used for municipal elections in only charter cities. April 4th is a general municipal elections day.
Governor Parson gets to pick the day of the election and it doesn’t have to be one of the already scheduled election days. With the delegates at large elected statewide in mind, do you think Parson would pick an election with a heavier turnout in St. Louis City and Kansas City than rest of the State? Of course not.
Young people will have no voice at a Constitutional Convention
Delegates to the Convention must meet the same qualifications as state senators: 30 years of age, state voters for at least 3 years, resident of the senatorial district for at least 1 year.
They will vote for the word “Constitutional”
It’s true that the every twenty years Constitutional Convention ballot question has a history of failing at the polls. But that was before January 6th 2021 and a defeated President claiming victory to this day. It was before the bizarre anti-science response to COVID. It was before Missouri elected officials decided racing to the bottom was a virtue and their voters applauded them. I hope that I’m wrong, but I think people are going to vote for the word “Constitutional” on November 8th and not care about the details.
*My guess is that Attorney General would tell them current legislative per diem applied.
**The Missouri Democratic Party’s state senatorial district list is a hot mess. As example, in 5th District, Laura Keys and Marty Murray are listed as Chair and Vice Chair. Both are no longer Democratic committeepeople, therefore ineligible to serve.