JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Dec. 2, 2011) — After failing earlier in the session to come to an agreement towards drawing new legislative district boundaries, the Missouri Apportionment Commission has concluded its task, and filed the new boundaries with the office of the Missouri Secretary of State.
State Sen. Dan Brown
The General Assembly was originally charged with the creation of the new legislative districts based on population shifts, the state constitution, the Voting Rights Act and other legal requirements. Redistricting occurs as a result of the census, which is conducted every ten years. Missouri law requires new legislative boundaries be drawn so that districts are as equal in population as possible.
Despite many hours of debate and hearings, the Missouri Senate, House and governor failed to agree on the boundaries by the end of session in mid-May. In addition, the bipartisan citizen apportionment commissions also failed to reach an amicable solution on the district lines in September. As a result, the state constitution mandates the lines be drawn by the six Missouri appellate judges. The decision marks only the second time in Missouri history that redistricting of both chambers were created by the judicial panel.
Since Missouri’s population increased by only slightly more than 7 percent over the last census, we also lost a seat in Congress, reducing the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives from nine to eight.
The new maps have displaced several legislators from their districts, and have already created a bit of controversy for some lawmakers regarding their re-election strategies, as well as their residences, among other things.
In our district, we lost the counties of Montgomery, Maries, Osage and Gasconade, while picking up the counties of Laclede and Camden. The new 16th district will consist of Laclede, Camden, Pulaski and Phelps counties.
Although the new districts may cause some confusion among voters, the decision of the judges is now final, and may only be challenged in federal court.
Candidates running for office in the new districts may begin filing Feb. 28, 2012, with the new borders being in effect for primary and general elections in 2012.
To view the new legislative district boundaries and demographic reports, visit the Missouri Office of Administration website at http://oa.mo.gov/bp/redistricting for complete information.
Always feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments, questions, or issues. Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.
Sen. Dan Brown is a member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Emerging Issues Committee, Agriculture, Food Production & Outdoor Resources Committee, Education Committee, and Appropriations Committee, and is vice-chair of the Pensions & Urban Affairs Committee. He can be reached at the following address: Sen. Dan Brown, State Capitol Building, Room 434, Jefferson City, MO 65101, via his website at www.senate.mo.gov/brown, by phone at (573) 751-5713, by fax at (573) 751-0733, or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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