Senate Redistricing Commission Back to Work

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JEFFERSON CITY - With less than two weeks before Missouri Senate candidates can start filing for their offices, there's one problem - those candidates still don't know where their districts are or who they'll be representing. 

That's because senate redistricting has been going on since last spring, when the first Senate Apportionment Commission was appointed.  The citizen commission couldn't decide on a map, so the task was given to the Appellate Commission, made up of appellate judges from across the state.  The commission released two maps.

Then, about a month later, the Supreme Court threw both the maps out.  So, the process started over again.

The new citizens commission met for the first time this weekend and held a public hearing at the state capitol.  Doug Harpool, the chairman of the commission, said the commission is working on an expedited schedule because of the fast-approaching filing date.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, testified at the public hearing Sunday and said the commission still has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.

"The map that was released yesterday was very frightening to me.  [My district goes] from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River along the Iowa border," said Munzlinger. "Straight across - not road miles - straight across is 252 miles. That's not compact."

The commission has only released one map so far.

Missouri Senators tried to create some breathing room by unanimously passing a bill that would push back the start of candidate filing until March 27.  The House has not taken up the bill yet.

Sen. Munzlinger said he hopes the commission can quickly pass a Senate map that both the voters and lawmakers will be happy with.

"I'll just be glad when it's over.  It's been a long tedious ordeal here," said Munzlinger.

For more information on the redistricting process, click here.