JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Every decade, Missouri undergoes a redistricting process of its congressional and state legislative districts to stay in accordance with population changes over the previous 10 years. With the 2020 Census data becoming available in April, here’s a look into where the state’s legislative redistricting process is currently at and what future steps look like.
Last year, over 1.3 million Missourians voted to replace portions of 2018’s “Clean Missouri” initiative that allowed the redistricting decisions to be hand selected by Democrat State Auditor Nicole Galloway . This returned the redistricting responsibility to two 20-member independent bipartisan citizens commissions that were selected by the governor in July.
There is one commission for each chamber of the legislature and each commission has 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. This past week, the commissions began holding public hearings across Missouri to give voters a chance to ask questions and share thoughts on the process.
The House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission (HIBCC), chaired by Jerry Hunter, has held two public hearings thus far and has four more scheduled over the next three weeks. The next meeting is Thursday in St. Louis, with the following three coming on Nov. 4, Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 in Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau and Kirksville, respectively.
The Senate Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission (SIBCC), chaired by Marc Ellinger, has held three public hearings thus far and plans to begin the process of discussing map changes.
Democrats and Republicans on each commission will meet separately to discuss the population shifts and put together preferred district maps to propose to the opposite party. Then, the parties will come together for meetings to negotiate and find an agreed-upon statewide map to submit to the Secretary of State’s office. The first of such meetings will occur on Nov. 4.
The commissions have to submit a tentative plan and map for both the House and Senate by Dec. 23. They will then have until January 23 to submit a final plan and map for each chamber, approved by 14 of the 20 members on each commission.
If a commission fails to submit a final plan and map by the deadline, the Missouri Supreme Court will appoint a commission of 6 Appellate Court Judges to finalize plans with the SOS within 90 days of being appointed. After the final maps are submitted to the Secretary of State’s office and finalized, the SOS will make the new district maps public to voters, according to the Office of Administration’s timeline.
Currently, there are 163 state House districts and 34 state Senate districts in Missouri. Assuming the process goes unscathed, the new district boundaries will go into effect for next year’s primary and general elections.
For more information on the state’s ongoing redistricting process, those interested can visit the Office of Administration’s website.