Panel of Judges Listens to Input about Redistricting

5 years 7 months 1 week ago October 13, 2011 Oct 13, 2011 Thursday, October 13 2011 Thursday, October 13, 2011 12:31:00 PM CDT in News
By: Mariel Seidman-Gati

JEFFERSON CITY -- A panel of six appellate judges listened to input from the public Thursday to help with the task of redrawing Missouri's Senate and House districts. This is because two bipartisan committees failed to agree on new district maps by their August deadline.

The hearing was open to the public, but most of the testimony came from lawmakers. Democratic and Republican commissioners proposed their own district maps on behalf of their respective parties, but Senator Kevin Engler of Farmington said lawmakers and the parties as a whole have different goals in mind.

"I think we need to change the system. I didn't even talk to the original committee because I knew they wouldn't come up with an agreement, not with the polarization we have here," said Engler.

Senators and House representatives spoke on behalf of their districts. Some encouraged the panel to keep current school districts in tact or to help maintain minority representation in their districts.

"We all try to create maps that are going to save our own seats. That's the whole idea. To say that's not the case is just disingenuous."

The panel of judges has 90 days to consider the testimony heard today and come up with district maps.

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