Panel Of Missouri Judges Will Sort Out Redistricting Proposals

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A six-judge panel in Jefferson City heard numerous proposals to redraw Missouri's State House and Senate district maps.

A coalition of St. Louis-area senators from both parties pitched a map that would prevent the region from losing a State Senate seat. Republican Eric Schmitt of St. Louis County said the St. Louis area has not lost enough population to justify losing a Senate district.

"When you have 44 percent of the state's GDP being derived from the region, we want to make sure that we (are) able to represent our folks," said Schmitt.

Another map, meanwhile, would move part of the 24th Senate District from St. Louis County down to the Springfield area - still another would radically reshape dozens of legislative districts to make them, quote, "genuinely competitive," according to the map's sponsors.

Former Democratic State Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis said the current House and Senate maps strongly benefit incumbents from both parties.

"We looked for areas where we could create 50-50 or 45-55, 48-52, whatever, competitive districts, to better reflect the true politics of the state," said Bray.

The six-judge panel is redrawing Missouri's State House and Senate maps because two bipartisan panels failed to agree on new maps earlier this year. The judges have until mid-December to redraw Missouri's State House and Senate districts.