Missouri House approves Republican-leaning 6-2 congressional redistricting map
Updated Jan. 19 with the Missouri House giving final approval
The Missouri House on Wednesday passed a congressional redistricting map that would keep the state’s current congressional makeup, with six Republican seats and two Democratic ones.
Representatives voted 86-67 to pass the map, with some Republicans joining all Democrats in voting against the bill.
However, the map in its current state will not go into effect until after the Aug. 2 primary because the House failed to pass an emergency clause, as Democratic votes were needed for that to be approved.
Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, spoke on the need for the House to accomplish other things this session.
“What bill have we heard on this floor? We’re almost to the end of January. It’s redistricting. We have an obligation to the rest of the people of this state to move other legislation that they sent us here for,” Shaul said.
In speaking about voting against the emergency clause, Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, rebuffed the idea that Democrats would be blamed for possible election chaos that emerges from the maps not going into effect until after the primary.
“Our job is not to vote on things based on what we get blamed for and what we don’t get blamed for,” Quade said. “Our job is to be able to sleep at night, vote for what we think our constituents want us to vote for and to do our best here in this body and to follow our constitution.”
The congressional map now goes to the Senate, where a coalition of senators already is advocating for a map with seven Republican seats. It’s possible the Senate could approve an emergency clause and send it back to the House for another vote.
Original story from Jan. 18
The Missouri House gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a redistricting map that would likely keep Missouri’s congressional delegation the same.
House members voted 84-60 in favor of the map, with all yes votes coming from Republicans.
Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, who chaired the House committee responsible for congressional redistricting, said his goals for the map, in addition to it being constitutionally sound, included meeting a series of requirements like having the map comply with the Voting Rights Act and the districts being compact and contiguous. The committee also had to use data from the 2020 census.
“We may like the data by the census, we may not. We do not have a choice; we must use that data from the census,” Shaul said.
Those requirements resulted in a map that’s similar to the one Missouri has now and would likely again send six Republicans and two Democrats to Congress.
However, some Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the map, though for different reasons.
Democrats offered several amendments on the House floor to modify the map. One, proposed by LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, would have modified Missouri’s 1st Congressional District by drawing the district more northwest and increasing the minority population. The district, currently represented by Cori Bush, is protected under the Voting Rights Act.
“We’re voting on a district that has an impact and has been fought for, for generations,” Bosley said.
Republicans also submitted new maps for consideration with the intention of picking up a congressional seat and having a 7-1 majority. Though some Republicans have voiced support for a 7-1 map, it’s a position in contrast to some in leadership who have been vocal in their preference for a 6-2 map.
Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, was the first to offer an amendment that drew a 7-1 map.
“We are trying to ensure that the representatives that we’re putting forth with these boundaries are representing the core values of the people here in the state of Missouri,” Schroer said.
However, Schroer’s map was not put up for consideration because it did not meet the requirement of the districts having equal population.
Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, in addition to bringing up the population error, spoke against the map itself.
“It intentionally splits up communities that the amendment sponsor doesn’t agree with into multiple districts to intentionally weaken their representation and power,” Merideth said.
Though representatives did not vote on Schroer’s map, they did reject a different 7-1 map as well as all other amendments that modified the map on the House floor.
The House must vote again before the map goes to the Senate. That includes a vote on the emergency clause to immediately put the map into effect. If an emergency clause is not adopted, the maps won't go into effect until Aug. 28, which would be after the Aug. 2 primary date.
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