Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A smaller Missouri House could be coming your way in seven years, if a proposed constitutional amendment makes it onto next year's ballot.

Two identical ballot initiatives would each shrink the size of the Missouri House from 163 seats down to 123.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Although redistricting battles were finished a year ago, before the 2012 elections, the topic resurfaced with this month's U.S. House fight over the federal budget and Obamacare, which led to the 16-day shutdown of the federal government.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 4:04 p.m. with Diehl's comments.

The Missouri Supreme Court has released its judgment on a challenge to the recent redistricting of the state's new Congressional districts. 

The Court has upheld the new districts, finally providing certainty for candidates in the August primary elections.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Will be updated.

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld new boundaries for state House districts based upon the 2010 census.

The high court issued a one-line ruling Tuesday upholding the new districts and saying a longer opinion would be issued sometime in the future. The ruling came about three hours before Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline for candidates to file for this year's elections.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Good morning! Here are some of the starting headlines of the day so far:

Nixon to hold news conference Tuesday on proposed cut in state aid to the blind

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking his case to the public to try to reverse a proposed cut in state aid to the blind. The Democratic governor is holding a news conference Tuesday in Columbia with leaders from organizations for the blind to oppose a cut made by the Republican-led House budget committee.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit challenging the new State House redistricting map.

The map’s opponents raised similar objections as those who’ve challenged the congressional and State Senate district maps drawn up last year:  Like the Senate map, plaintiffs claimed, in written statements, that the six-judge panel that drew up the House map did so behind closed doors and thus violated the state’s Sunshine law.  Robert Hess, one of the attorneys defending the map, said the panel was not subject to the Sunshine law.

Monday's "St. Louis on the Air" will cover the pressing legal issues of the day.
s_falkow | Flickr

Update at 5:46 p.m.:

According to Mo. Sec. of State Robin Carnahan's office, Judge Daniel Green of the Cole County Circuit Court has denied the temporary restraining order. The decision means candidate filing for Missouri state Senate districts will begin Tuesday morning, as scheduled.

Updated at 4 p.m. with comments from plaintiff

There's another twist in the ongoing legal battle over the new districts for the Missouri State Senate.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Missouri's Supreme Court judges will hear arguments this afternoon in a legal challenge to the new districts for the state House of Representatives.

The suit argues that the new map, which was drawn by a judicial commission, creates districts that are not as compact and equal in population as they should be.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would have moved back Missouri’s filing period for the August 7th primaries has been withdrawn from consideration by the State Senate.

Instead of debating the bill itself, some St. Louis-area Senators began criticizing the citizens’ commission that drew up the latest State Senate district map Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) and Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) both had harsh words for the proposed map, which would move Cunningham’s 7th District to the Kansas City area.

(Mo. Office of Administration)

A tentative agreement has been reached on a new redistricting map for the Missouri Senate.

A bipartisan commission appointed by Governor Jay Nixon (D) to draw a new map negotiated for more than 13 hours Wednesday, and reached a consensus after 12:00 this morning.  The "Tentative Plan" map can be viewed here.  Marc Ellinger is the top Republican on the 10-person commission.

(Missouri Senate)

Two lawsuits challenging Missouri’s new congressional district map have been heard for a second time by the State Supreme Court.  The cases returned to the High Court after the map was upheld two weeks ago by a Cole County Circuit judge.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs continued their arguments that the districts drawn on the so-called Grand Compromise Map fails the state constitution’s compactness requirement.  Attorney Jamie Barker Landes criticized the new 5th District, which lumps three rural GOP-leaning counties with urban Jackson County, while also adding a slice of metro Kansas City onto the rural northern Missouri 6th District.

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The Missouri Senate has unanimously passed legislation to move the filing period for the state’s party primaries back by one month.

The bill is moving rapidly because the filing period is currently set to begin February 28th and end March 27th, and because of the lack of new State House and Senate district maps.  The Missouri Supreme Court tossed out the Senate map, which now has to be redrawn, and a legal challenge to the new House map is also being appealed to the High Court.  Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says those facts alone make it necessary to push back the filing period.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would push back the filing period for the state’s August primaries by one month.

The bill’s backers say the filing period needs to be moved forward to March 27th through April 24th, due to legal uncertainty over the State House and Senate district maps.  Currently, the filing period begins February 28th and ends March 27th for all state and federal races this year.

(Missouri State Redistricting Office)

It's been a busy day in Missouri courts today.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down an ethics law because the measure originally dealt with state procurement.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Updated 12:19 p.m.

A Missouri senator has introduced legislation that would push back the state's time period for candidates to file for public office.

The legislation introduced Wednesday would push the filing period back to begin on March 27. The filing period was originally scheduled to begin Feb. 28. The change will affect races for seats in the state legislature and the U.S. House.

Sen. Mike Parson, a Bolivar Republican, said the change was necessary because state lawmakers might not have enough time to file for their candidacies.

(Missouri Senate)

The congressional redistricting map passed last year by Missouri lawmakers has been upheld by a Cole County judge.

Following a three-day court battle, Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled late Friday that the districts in the so-called Grand Compromise Map do comply with the state constitution’s requirement that congressional districts be “as compact as may be.”  Gerry Greiman, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, disagrees.

falkow | Flickr

A Missouri judge could rule in mid-February on a lawsuit challenging new boundaries for state House districts.

The case was scheduled for a Friday hearing before Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce. Instead, the judge gave attorneys on both sides a Feb. 10 deadline for submitting written arguments. Joyce could rule the following week. Candidates currently can start filing Feb. 28 for this year's elections.

(Mo. Senate)

Closing arguments were heard today (Thursday) in the lawsuit over Missouri’s new congressional district map.

Debate centered around whether the so-called Grand Compromise Map passed by lawmakers last year meets the State Supreme Court’s definition of compactness.  Gerry Greiman represents the plaintiffs.  He argued that the map’s 5th District, which lumps Kansas City together with three rural counties, fails that test.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated 12:43 with comments from hearing.

Updated 4:29 p.m. with more commentary from hearing, additional information.

A Missouri political science professor says the state's new congressional districts could have been more compact.

University of Missouri-St. Louis professor David Kimball was the first witness during a court hearing about the constitutionality of the state's new U.S. House districts.

Kimball said the districts could be considered divided in a way that gives one political party an advantage, which is known as gerrymandering.

Opponents of new Missouri House districts are taking their legal challenge to a trial court after being turned down by the state Supreme Court.

A lawsuit challenging state House districts was filed Friday in Cole County. Its filing was expected after the state high court on Thursday declined a request to strike down the House map but permitted the case to be filed in a trial court.

The Missouri Supreme Court is declining to weigh in on the constitutionality of new state House districts - at least for now.

The high court had been asked in a lawsuit to block a new map for the 163-member House from being used in this year's elections.

The plaintiffs contend the new maps violate requirements that districts have similar populations and be contiguous and compact.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Another legal challenge over Missouri's redistricting process seeks to block new districts for the 163-member state House.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, more than a dozen people, including two former lawmakers, say a new House district map violates requirements that districts be compact, contiguous and have similar populations. The plaintiffs are asking the Supreme Court to consider the case without it going before a trial court.

A panel of appellate judges drew up the map of new districts for the Missouri House after the 2010 census.

(via flickr/david_shane)

Missouri judge schedules hearing for for U.S. House districts

A Missouri trial judge is setting aside several days to examine new congressional districts after the state Supreme Court ordered further review of the new map. Online court records show Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green has schedule what is expected to be a three-day hearing beginning Jan. 31. 

This week, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered further review of claims that the redrawn U. S. House districts are unconstitutional because they are not sufficiently compact.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 5:21 p.m. with Gov. Nixon asking for nominees for new citizens commission

The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down new state Senate districts and ordered a further legal review of new U.S. House districts.

The rulings Tuesday add fresh uncertainty for the 2012 election year, just weeks before candidates are to begin filing for office.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The legal battle over Missouri’s new congressional map resumed today. 

The State Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the so-called “Grand Compromise Map” fails to meet the State Constitution’s compactness requirement.  Attorney Gerry Greiman argued for the plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits against the map.  He says like-minded people should be joined together in the same district.

(Missouri Office of Administration website)

Updated 4:56 p.m. with Supreme Court setting oral argument.

The Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments quickly on a Columbia lawyer's challenge to newly drawn districts for the 34-seat state Senate.

District boundaries were redrawn by a panel of state appellate judges to reflect population changes based on the 2010 census.

(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

Updated 1:48 p.m. with quote from Crowell, more information.

A Missouri senator wants to change the secretive process used to draw new legislative districts.

Republican Sen. Jason Crowell, of Cape Girardeau, is proposing a constitutional amendment to require redistricting commissions to follow the state's public meetings and open records law.

He said redistricting is fundamental to the democratic process, and new boundaries for state legislative seats should not be drawn behind closed doors.

(Missouri Office of Administration website)

A six-judge panel that redrew Missouri’s State House and Senate districts has made a few changes to the Senate map.

The original map had raised constitutional concerns because it divided rural Johnson County in western Missouri among two separate Senate districts.  The county is represented in the Senate by Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg.

A Cole County judge has decided to dismiss a legal challenge to the congressional redistricting maps passed this year by Missouri lawmakers.

Two suits were heard jointly Thursday, one from St. Louis-area Democrats and the other from Kansas City-area Republicans.  Both stated that the so-called Grand Compromise Map was geared to protect incumbents, and would weaken the political voices of St. Louis and Kansas City.  Attorney Gerry Greiman represents the St. Louis area plaintiffs.  He says they’ll appeal directly to the State Supreme Court.

(Illinois House of Representatives via Google Maps)

Judges have thrown out a Republican lawsuit challenging a Democrat-drawn map of new state legislative

A panel of federal judges in Chicago on Wednesday dismissed the suit filed by top Illinois Republicans.

House Republican leader Tom Cross and Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno sued because they contend the Democrat-drawn map is unfair to minority groups and GOP voters.