JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri House lawmakers convened on Tuesday at noon to discuss and debate where to draw the new lines for Missouri's congressional districts.
Congressional districts are redrawn after a new census is done.
The congressional map approved by the bipartisan redistricting committee, HB 2117, has six Republican districts and two Democrat districts. However, some Republican representatives argue for a map with seven Republican districts and one Democrat district. After two hours of debate, the House voted 84-60 to adopt and perfect the original map presented by Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, chairman of the redistricting committee.
"A key point of debate was how many counties were split in the proposed maps. Lawmakers agreed like-minded communities should be kept together, but hours of debate were spent discussing how best to do that," says Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, chairman of the redistricting committee.
Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O'Fallon, introduced the first amendment, which would change the districts to a 7-1 map. Schroer's map splits the Kansas City area and central Missouri. In this proposed map, Boone County is split into three different districts.
Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, spoke out against Schroer's amendment. Merideth said the map is gerrymandering, calling out the three-way split in the Columbia area specifically.
Several other 7-1 maps were proposed, but none with as many counties split as Schroer's map. Despite much debate, the 7-1 amendments were voted down.
Ranking member Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, proposed a map that only splits St. Charles, Jackson and St. Louis counties. With minimal debate, Quade's amendment failed by votes of aye and nay.
In an interview with ABC 17, Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, said Tuesday's session went as he expected it to. Basye said he didn't like Schroer's map that split up the area he represents, and he also didn't think it was fair to have seven Republican districts.
"A lot of people had very strong opinions about maybe drawing the map a little more favorable to the Republicans, but I think what we did today was very, very appropriate," Basye said.
Rep. David Tyson Smith, D-Columbia, was not in favor of the map approved Tuesday. In an interview with ABC 17, Smith reiterated the points made by other Democrats during the debate.
"I don't think it's a fair representation of the voters in Missouri," Smith said. "You know, in 2020 Democrats congressionally were voting at about a 40% rate."
Smith and other Democrats think the map should have more Democrat districts to better represent the results of the 2020 election results.