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Ballot measures would shrink the size of the Missouri House

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.

One was submitted by former Republican Sen. John Lamping of Ladue; the other by attorney and Democratic activist Jane Dueker of St. Louis. Lamping says the purpose of two identical measures is to show that the proposal is bipartisan.

The public comment period for each initiative is now open, and citizens can submit comments online to the Secretary of State's office.

Lamping says Missouri has the highest ratio of House members to senators than any other state in the nation.

"Each representative has essentially one-fifth of the vote that a senator has," Lamping said. "You could represent a House district and really not have a tremendous sway as an individual vote in the House; you have relatively little sway over the outcome of legislation."

He continued, "You represent your district, but you don't have tremendous capacity to move your district's will, so the idea would be to have a greater opportunity for a House (member) to have some sort of political leverage to push and advocate for the things their constituents are for."

If either version makes it onto Missouri’s 2016 ballot and is then passed by voters, it would take effect in the year 2022. Each state House district would represent about 49,000 people, compared to the current 35,000 people, and the new districts would be drawn based on redistricting data from the 2020 U.S. census.

Once the public comment period ends, one or both measures would then have to be approved for signature circulation.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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