Bill proposes regulations for newly-created position of state demographer
JEFFERSON CITY - The person who will oversee how voting districts are mapped would be subject to a string of regulations under a bill discussed Monday at the Capitol.
The sponsor of SS SB 213, told a House committee how the bill would regulate the responsibilities of the nonpartisan state demographer, a position created under the "Clean Missouri" amendment approved by voters in November.
The measure would require the state demographer to create the "Redistricting Public Comment Portal," a website to provide public comments and documents related to the redistricting process.
The bill would also prohibit the nonpartisan state demographer from:
- Accepting, directly or indirectly, gifts from any interested party
- Accepting, directly or indirectly, any compensation, grants, stipends, retainers, or remuneration from any source other than the State of Missouri
- Employing, contracting with, or delegating authority to, directly or indirectly, any person or entity, including but not limited to counsel, to perform any work or analysis during the redistricting process. However, the demographer would be able to consult with or request opinions from the Missouri Attorney General
- Engaging in written or oral communication with any person or entity seeking to influence the redistricting process, except for submissions made through the Redistricting Public Comment Portal
Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby said his bill would bring transparency to the work of the demographer.
"Any of the communication would be done through the portal. You can talk to people, just make sure it's reported through the portal, get information through the portal so that the media, the public, citizens in general can see what's going on, what's been received and what's been discussed," he said.
The General Laws Committee has to vote on the bill before it goes to the House floor.
A similar bill, HB 973, also dealing with regulations for the state demographer, passed 148-2 in the House and is already in a Senate committee.