Kansas City, MO – The newly appointed panel charged with recommending a redistricting plan for Kansas City, Missouri held a lengthy first meeting yesterday, but it's possible the real decision making won't start until April.
The city charter mandates that redistricting be in place by the March election, but that would require a second effort after new census data is released, probably in April.
There is pressure from the growing Northland to redistrict now. But Councilman Terry Riley expressed the perhaps stronger pressure from predominantly African-American districts that could be broken up in the process.
Riley told his colleagues, "It's a direct violation of the Civil Rights Voting Act, and we should not move forward because there will be lawsuits filed."
Everyone on the Finance and Audit Committee but the mayor agreed that the charter should be changed, pushing the deadline back. That proposal goes to a council vote this afternoon - a vote on putting the charter change on the November ballot.
In the meantime, the redistricting panel will continue working with the old deadline in case voters should fail to approve the change.