JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A panel of Missouri appeals court judges reviewed maps propped on easels, held up from a table and handed to them Thursday as the commission worked to sort through how to redraw the state’s legislative districts.
Lawmakers and others offered their opinions to the six judges, who serve on the state commission now responsible for redistricting. New legislative borders are being developed by the panel of judges because state redistricting commissions with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats deadlocked this summer.
Testifying on Thursday, several people pointed to regional issues such as nearby cities or counties that are aligned and would easily fit within the same district. Some called for protecting districts where most of the residents are minorities. Others proposed that competitiveness between Republicans and Democrats be considered.
The judges are tasked are expected to complete the map by mid-December for the 163 Missouri House districts and 34 Missouri Senate districts.
Western District Court of Appeals Judge Lisa White Hardwick, the commission chairwoman, said the panel was seeking public comment and was not soliciting feedback for a particular map. She
said commission members would decide whether to work off proposals that were submitted or start fresh.
Congressional and state legislative districts are redrawn each decade after the census. Missouri’s population has grown by about 7 percent, but the growth has not been equally distributed. The southwest
corner of the state and the outer St. Louis suburbs have been among the fastest-growing areas, while St. Louis and St. Louis County have each lost population since 2000.
Copyright The Associated Press