House Rejects Senate Redistricting Map

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JEFFERSON CITY - The House rejected the Senate's redistricting plan Thursday and asked for the bill to go to conference committee.

The map reduces the number of congressional districts from nine to eight, after Missouri lost a seat as a result of the 2010 census.

Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville, sponsored the Senate redistricting bill. He said he is still unsure what the Senate will do with the House's request.

The Senate passed its version of the bill Wednesday by a vote of 22-11.

Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, said he is still fairly confident the bill will pass before the end of the session but said, "it is more of a concern now than at the beginning of session."

Talboy said a conference will be necessary to get redistricting finished.

"There are going to be enough questions that we need to go to conference to work that out," said Talboy. "It's not going to be something that both sides are just going to trust the other one to take up and maybe do right by what their concerns are."

Rupp made the argument Thursday that the House didn't spend enough time considering the version the Senate passed.

"Well, we just passed it out of here yesterday and I'm not even sure the House had a chance to look at it," said Rupp.

The legislative session is less than a month away, ending on May 13. Previously House Speaker Rep. Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, said he thought they could finish redistricting by February. 

The Senate will now have to decide if the legislation should go to conference. If the Senate choses not do so, it would have to draw up a new version of the bill, pass that, and then send it to the House.

Right now the Senate faces a logjam of other items, including the Callaway nuke plant, tax credits and right-to-work legislation.

The House made the decision not to have floor debate Monday because of the backup in the Senate.

Lawmakers are aiming to pass the mandatory congressional redistricting bill by the end of the regular session. If not, Gov. Nixon could call for a special session to get the bill passed. 

Governor Nixon has not commented on any of the versions of maps so far to indicate whether he would veto.