Deal Reached on Senate Redistricting

Chris Blank, AP

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bipartisan state redistricting commission reached a deal over new boundaries for Missouri’s 34 Senate districts after a marathon session that stretched into the early morning hours Thursday.

The proposed new Senate districts were approved by an 8-2 vote with one Republican and one Democrat voting against the plan. The tentative map will now be submitted to the Missouri secretary of state’s office. There will be another 15-day public comment period before the 10-member redistricting commission can file a final map. Approving the final Senate plan requires seven votes.

Redistricting commission members met throughout the day Wednesday — with most of the discussions held behind closed doors. The panel voted to approve its tentative redistricting plan around 12:30 a.m., ending a more than 13-hour meeting. Commissioners have faced a looming deadline to develop the new Senate districts because candidates can start filing Tuesday for this year’s elections. Legislation to delay the filing period has passed the Senate and is pending in the House.

Former Democratic lawmaker Doug Harpool, the chairman of the redistricting commission, said reaching an agreement required compromises across the state. He said it was particularly necessary in St. Louis County, Clay County near Kansas City, the Bootheel and Boone County, which is home to the University of Missouri-Columbia. Harpool said compromise also was necessary to sort out the numbering of the districts, given that half the Senate is up for election every two years.

“There will be people in both parties disappointed, but there is no way to get a map and please everybody,” Harpool said.

Republican Cole County Commissioner Marc Ellinger, vice chairman of the redistricting panel, said the St. Louis metropolitan area had been challenging. He said the commission’s job is to develop a fair plan.

“It’s a compromise. It’s not the best for anybody,” Ellinger said.

The Senate map was posted early Thursday to a state website. Some changes from current districts were apparent. For example, the 25th District in the southeastern corner extends northwest to grab Shannon and Carter counties. It also adds Mississippi County along the Mississippi River.

In central Missouri, the 19th District keeps Boone County while adding western neighbor Cooper County. Randolph County to the north shifts to a northeastern Missouri district. And the 6th District, which includes the Capitol, is reshaped to remain south of the Missouri River.

The proposed map also appears to group at least two senators in the same seat. The state redistricting website includes information about lawmakers’ homes, and the commission plan seems to place Republican Sens. Jane Cunningham and Brian Nieves in the 26th District that covers Franklin County and part of St. Louis County.

Despite the changes, adjustments in some districts appear minimal. No changes were made to the 32nd District, which includes Joplin, or to the 34th District north of Kansas City that covers St. Joseph.

State legislative districts are redrawn each decade based on the most recent census. The number of Senate districts does not change, but the boundaries must be adjusted to account for population shifts, such as growth in southwestern Missouri and the outer St. Louis suburbs and declines in St. Louis County and the city.

The agreement reached Thursday was the second attempt by a bipartisan redistricting commission to draw Senate districts based on the 2010 census.

Last year, a redistricting panel that included some different members from the current commission deadlocked and failed to agree on a new map. A special panel of appellate judges then handled the task. But the Missouri Supreme Court rejected that map in January, and the process started from scratch with the appointment of a new redistricting commission.

The last time new state legislative districts were developed by a bipartisan redistricting commission and not the panel of appellate judges was in 1991 for the Missouri House. The most recent commission to develop Senate districts was in 1971.

Missouri’s redistricting process has encountered complications this year. The state Supreme Court twice has considered lawsuits challenging new congressional districts enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature, and the high court has scheduled oral arguments for Monday in a lawsuit challenging the new districts for the 163-member Missouri House.
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© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments

One Comment

  1. BARBARA SMIDDY says:

    I RECEIVE TODD AIKEN’S NEWS LETTERS/E-MAILS UPDATES, WE ARE A VERY OLD ESTABLISHED BUSINESS IN SOUTH ST LOUIS-OWNED G. B. WINDLER 56 ALMOST 57 YEARS. G. B. WINDLER FLORIST WAS ESTABLISED CIRCA 1850s. WE HAVE HAD A LAWSUIT WITH MSD SINCE 2007 FOR ALLOWING A CONTRACTOR TO USE ORICA MAGNAFRAC (DYNAMITE) LESS THAN 100 FEET FROM OUR BUSINESS PROPERTY CAUSING 1/2 MILLION IN DAMAGES PLUS LOSS OF BUSINESS DUE TO TYING UP THE AREA FOR 6 MONTHS. WE ARE 67 AND 77 YEARS OLD. MSD AND THEIR LAWYERS ARE WAITING FOR US TO DIE–IN ADDITION TO OUR BANKER, I.E., SOUTHERN COMMERCIAL BANK-CUSTOMERS SINCE 1955, FORECLOSED AND AUCTIONED US OFF UNDER THE GUISE OF A COMMERCIAL LOAN, WHEN IN FACT IS A ‘PREDATORY LOAN’ OUR SENATOR WHOSE NAME I WILL WITHHOLD WAS VERY SYMPATHETIC. WHEN I E-MAILED MR. AIKEN-HIS REPLY-‘I CAN’T ANSWER YOU-YOU ARE NOT IN MY DISTRICT–NOW WE ARE TALKING DIST 1 AND DIST 2WHAT GOOD IS HE? I HAVE A 17 PAGE” EPISTLE” BY ST.BARBARA” THAT OBAMA, BIDEN, DEPT OF JUSTICE, GOV. NIXON, ATTY GEN’L KOSTNER, CARNAHAN, ELLIOT DAVIS HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION AND WHAT AM I DOING TODAY WAITING TO HEAR ABUT SOUTHERN COMMERCIAL BANK CLOSING THE SALE OF OUR PROPERTY TO AN IMMIGRANT WHO WAS OUR TENANT AND THE FUNDS MOST LIKELY ARE COMING FROM TURKEY, WHILE I HAVE PROOF OF 2 FEDERAL OFFENSES AGAINST SOUTHERN COMMERCIAL–IT’S A GOOD LIFE-BOB POTTER RESIDES AT SOUTHERN COIMMERCIAL BANK, 54515 S. GRAND BLVD. AT PRESENT MSD’S CONTRACTOR’S LAWYERS ARE SUBPOENAING SCB, PLUS FIGHTING AMONGST THEMSELVES–AMERICA’S DREAM HAS TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE. REGARDS, BARBARA A. SMIDDY, V.P., G. B.WINDLER FLORAL CO.,INC, RETIRED FROM MONSANTO-ENGINEERING ACCOUNTING. IF YOU LIKE A COPY OF ‘EPISTLE BY ST BARBARA’ AND A COPY OF MODERN DAY DAVID AND GOLIATH–PH:1-800-433-2690, 314-481-2345. THE BEST PART–SCB’S PRESIDENT TELLING OUR ATTORNEY FOR THE MSD LITIGATIION THAT I ‘MOONED’ ONE OF HIS REPS-MR. COLEMAN IS A ‘CLASS ACT’ ALONG WITH ONE OF HIS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT–GARY ELLIS, A/K/A/ ‘MR HISSY FITS’-THE COFFEE CAN BURIED IN THE BACK YARD IS GOING TO HAVE AN ‘EPIPHANY’, REGARDFS, BARBARA A/K/A/ ‘LIZA DOOLITTLE’

  2. Ulfa says:

    At least it looks like this go-round will keep us in the 39th Legislative District, uilnke previous redistricting where we went from the 10th to the 40th (or maybe the other way around) and then found ourselves linked to Sultan and Monroe in the 39th. Maybe we have more things in common with other rural areas, but I feel cut off from the rest of the county at times. However, maybe the three groups of legislators representing parts of Skagit County might carry more political clout than just one district.I certainly hope the new Congressional district won’t stuff us into another enormous district where our only commonality is mountains. Congressman Rick Larson has represented us well and I’d hate to lose him to someone who doesn’t even know where Concrete is on a map, much less how we think.

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