State Sen. Proposes Amendment Reforming Redistricting Process

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JEFFERSON CITY -  A newly proposed constitutional amendment by a conservative Missouri state senator calls for further transparency of Missouri's redistricting process.

The amendment, filed by State Sen. Jason Crowell (R - Cape Girardeau) on Wednesday, "provides that all meetings of any Senate or House apportionment commission, including any appellate apportionment commission, shall be public."

Crowell's amendment comes after a tumultuous fight over the redistricting of Missouri Senate and House districts--a process required by law every 10 years after national census results are released.  House and Senate members were unable to come an agreement over the district maps, forcing Gov. Jay Nixon to give the redrawing power to a commission of state appellate judges.

The commission was able to hash out a new map, but meetings between those judges happened behind closed doors and with very little notification released to the public. For that reason, Crowell--who cannot run in 2012 election due to term limits--told the Associated Press Thursday he hopes to make the process more open and transparent.

Crowell's amendment would not only force those meetings to open to the public, but make any records or documents subject to open records laws.

For the amendment to pass, a majority of legislators in both the House and the Senate would have to pass the legislation.  The measure would then be put onto a ballot and voted on by Missourians.

The 2012 legislative session of the Missouri legisalture starts on Jan. 4.