Missouri Faces Tough Slog on Redistricting

     JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A bipartisan commission has agreed on a new map for Missouri’s 34 state Senate districts – but the redistricting fight is not over.



     The new map was approved by 8-2 vote after a marathon session that stretched into early Thursday morning. One Republican and one Democrat voted against the plan. The map will be submitted to the Missouri secretary of state’s office and there will be another 15-day public comment period before the 10-member redistricting commission files a final map.
     Former Democratic lawmaker Doug Harpool, chairman of the redistricting commission, told The Associated Press that the agreement required compromises across the state, especially in the St. Louis, Kansas City, Bootheel and Boone County areas.
     The map was redrawn to reflect population shifts in the state, as recorded by the 2010 census.
     It’s been a hard road. Last year, a redistricting panel failed to come to an agreement, and a special panel of appellate judges was appointed to redraw the map. That effort was scrapped in January after the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the map and ordered the process to start over from scratch.
     Missouri’s redistricting process as a whole has encountered numerous complications. The state supreme court twice heard lawsuits challenging the state’s congressional districts, and has scheduled oral arguments for Monday to hear a challenge to the new district map of the state’s 163-member House.
     Feb. 28 is the start of the month-long period in which candidates can file for office. Legislation is pending that would push back that period, which the various challenges are settled.

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