Senate Redistricting Commission Fails to Reach Decision
JEFFERSON CITY - Responsibility for drawing new state districts falls into the hands of a state appeals court judges panel.
That's because a group of state political players failed to reach an agreement on re-drawing senate district lines.
Senate Apportionment Commission Vice Chairman John Maupin, a Republican, complained about the Democratic plan for the St. Louis area. Chairman Doug Harpool presented the Democrat plan during the commission's first meeting August 8th, the plan called for eliminating one of St. Louis's three districts.
"My plan was to shift the districts based on population, without regard to where the current incumbents live. And that required, like it or not, for a reduction in representation in the St. Louis area, and an increase in representation of the area bordering St. Louis, and then down in southwest Missouri," Harpool said.
Maupin, doesn't like it.
"The Democrat proposals move the 24th District from St. Louis where I live, down here to south of Springfield. And my Senator, whom I worked hard to elect, all of a sudden is gonna represent not me, but people in Stone and Berry County. That is just wrong.That for me was a breaking point, and when there was no compromise on that from the Democrats, I could not vote for a map that would eliminate my senator. That's not gonna happen," Maupin said.
Harpool discounts the Republican plan's intentions.
"It's not hard to get politicians to agree to make their districts stronger leaning toward their own party than they were before. And that's really pretty much all the Republican, the Senator's map that has been adopted on the Republic compromise does," Harpool said.
"I was not driven to save incumbent seats, but I was driven to save communities of interest...I think the map I drew was very fair," Maupin countered.
While Maupin and Harpool agree that one of the biggest stand-offs relate to redistricting the St. Louis area, Mid-Missouri Senate districts are also up for debate.
Harpool explained that Boone and Randolph County populations are now too high to remain in the same district. The Democrat plan merges Boone and Howard County, while the Republican plan combines Boone and Cooper County. Montieau County is a third option to pair with Boone County in the new map.
"We have to add the populations in the districts up to as close to 176,000 as we can. That's one of the big concerns I have about the Republicam map, is it has districts in St. Louis County way below 176,000, as low as 167,000. But then it turns around, and has a population of districts in really fact growing areas that would start the decade at 186,000 - almost 10,000 above what they should be... at the end of the decade the difference in the population of those districts I thought would have been way more that what would have been appropriate under the one man one vote rule," Harpool said.
Click here to view links to the proposed Senate boundary maps.
The state Senate districts districts are redrawn every 10 years, following the census.
The commission faced an August 18th deadline to determine the boundaries following the 2012 election. But now, the judges panel is expected to finish a new map in the Fall. This is exactly what happened 10 years ago at the last redistricting.