Local political players share this update on a process that's already getting contention as the super minority part fights desperately to garner any kind of momentum.
Here's the word via newsletter sent to www.TonysKansasCity.com recently . . .
State Redistricting Beings With an Expected Partisan Fight
In a stark example of what could have been avoided had a nonpartisan redistricting process approved, but later rescinded, by Missouri voters remained in place, a House redistricting commission evenly split between Democrats and Republicans deadlocked for nearly eight hours on Aug. 10 over which party should wield the chairman’s gavel as the process for drawing new statehouse districts gets underway.
Republican commissioners insisted one of their members should be chair since a Republican is governor. Democrats said a fairer method would be to determine the chairmanship by a coin flip. The state constitutional provisions creating the commissions don’t specify how the chair and other leadership posts should be chosen.
After deadlocking all day on a series of 10-10 votes, the commission finally agreed to elect Republican Jerry Hunter of St. Louis as chair, with Democrats Keena Smith of St. Louis and Mark Schaeperkotter of Owensville respectively being chosen and vice-chair and secretary. The parties also agreed that Hunter and Smith would share authority.
For decades, commissions consisting of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans had first crack at drawing new state House and Senate districts every 10 years. However, those commissions typically deadlocked, kicking the job to a separate commission of six state appellate judges.
In an effort to minimize partisanship in the redistricting process, Missouri voters ratified a constitutional amendment in 2018 that granted the responsibility for drawing new legislative districts to a nonpartisan state demographer. The measure passed with 62 percent of voters in support, and the new system was supposed to be used for the first time this year.
However, Republican lawmakers, fearing the new system would loosen their legislative dominance, placed a second constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot to largely repeal the 2018 changes. Voters narrowly ratified it with 51 percent in support.
The redistricting process won’t begin in earnest until after the U.S. Census Bureau provides the precinct-level data needed to draw new maps, which currently is expected to occur in September. The House and Senate commissions each have scheduled six meetings around the state in October and November to take public testimony.
Developing . . .