Missouri House rejects congressional map as standoff worsens

Mar 31, 2022, 12:16 AM | Updated: 2:08 pm
FILE - Missouri state Rep. Travis Fitzwater studies a proposed map of U.S. House districts during a...

FILE - Missouri state Rep. Travis Fitzwater studies a proposed map of U.S. House districts during a state House committee hearing on Jan. 10, 2022, at the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. The Missouri House on Thursday, March 31, overwhelmingly defeated a congressional redistricting plan passed by the state Senate, intensifying a standoff that could eventually force the courts to intervene to draw new voting districts. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb, File)

(AP Photo/David A. Lieb, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri House on Thursday overwhelmingly defeated a congressional redistricting plan passed by the state Senate, intensifying a standoff that could eventually force the courts to intervene to draw new voting districts.

Although Missouri has large Republican majorities in both legislative chambers, a conservative coalition has split with GOP leaders over how aggressively to gerrymander district lines to their favor. Turf wars also have erupted over which communities to split up in order to equalize the population among all eight districts.

Missouri is the only state that has not either enacted or at least passed a new U.S. House map after the 2020 census, though uncertainty also remains in Florida because of a gubernatorial veto and in other states due to court challenges. Louisiana’s Republican-led Legislature on Wednesday overrode a veto by its Democratic governor and enacted new congressional districts.

Republicans currently hold six of Missouri’s eight U.S. House seats, with Democrats representing districts based in St. Louis and Kansas City. Though some conservatives had pushed for a map that could give the GOP a shot at winning seven seats, the state House and Senate each passed different versions of maps projected to continue the GOP’s 6-2 edge.

The Senate version has a slightly stronger Republican bent than the House version in the only politically competitive seat, the 2nd District held by Republican Rep. Ann Wagner. But the Senate map stretches Wagner’s suburban St. Louis district south into rural counties and splits the Democratic-leaning city of Columbia — home of the University of Missouri — amid two largely rural Republican districts. State House members complained that the Senate version didn’t adequately keep communities of interest intact.

The House voted 129-26 to reject the Senate map, then requested that the Senate grant a conference to try to work out their differences.

“This is a vote to continue the process, to continue discussion for the best possible map for all of Missouri,” said Republican state Rep. Dan Shaul, chair of the House Redistricting Committee.

The Senate already had rejected one conference request before Thursday’s vote. Though Senate GOP leaders expressed a willingness for a joint conference committee, one of the chamber’s most vocal conservatives and its Democratic leader both said further talks would be pointless.

“The House vote today was a vote for the liberal activist courts to draw the map,” said Republican Sen. Bob Onder. He declared: “We’re not going to conference.”

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo said the map that already passed the Senate is the most realistic option.

“At this point, if there was a unicorn map out there to make everyone happy, it would have reared its head,” he said.

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Missouri voters by Democratic attorneys asking a court to intervene in the stalled redistricting process and draw new U.S. House districts that can be used in this year’s elections. But no hearing has been scheduled.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file to run in Missouri’s August primary. A total of 68 people signed up for specific House districts, even though they weren’t sure of the eventual boundaries.

If lawmakers were to pass new congressional districts before the mid-May end of their legislative session, they could change state law to temporarily re-open the candidate filing period.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
10 hours ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
1 day ago
Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Na...
Associated Press

Nashville shooter who killed 6 drew maps, surveilled school

Three children were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday, hospital officials said.
2 days ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Associated Press

Police: passenger pulled jet’s emergency slide before LAX to SEA flight

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport was detained for triggering the plane’s emergency slide prior to takeoff, authorities said.
2 days ago
Law enforcement officials work at the scene along Wooding Road on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, east o...
Associated Press

Why murder defendant was free before killings in Washington

Kirkland Warren was out on bail pending a long-delayed murder trial in Arkansas. But when he was arrested in Washington, he posted bond and was released.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Missouri House rejects congressional map as standoff worsens