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Missouri House greenlights new draft congressional map

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Last day of the Missouri Legislature’s 2021 regular session

Missouri House lawmakers applaud Speaker Rob Vescovo on the House floor on Friday, May 14, 2021, on the final day of the legislative session at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — House lawmakers backed new lines for the state’s eight congressional districts on Monday, greenlighting a revised plan officials hope will win favor in the Senate.

The House gave final approval to the new version, which would likely result in six Republicans and two Democrats in the state’s U.S. House delegation, on a bipartisan 101-47 vote.

The plan now moves to the Senate. The Legislature has until 6 p.m. Friday, when the legislative session ends, to approve a map and send it to Gov. Mike Parson.

“This gives us the best chance to fulfill our constitutional obligation,” Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, said before the House voted in support of his map on Monday.

The House approved a similar plan in January, but it died in the Senate.

The main point of contention between the two chambers has centered around the shape of the 2nd and 3rd districts, which both cover St. Louis suburbs.

St. Charles County Sens. Bill Eigel and Bob Onder have both called for a large majority or all of St. Charles County to be placed within one congressional district.

A plan that eventually cleared the Senate kept about 80% of St. Charles County residents in the 3rd District, a win for the two St. Charles County senators.

The plan put forth in the House on Monday places about 75% of St. Charles County residents in the 3rd District, Shaul said. Onder said Friday negotiations over the map were heading in a positive direction.

The scheme stretches the St. Louis County-based 2nd Congressional District from Shrewsbury west to Warren and Franklin counties. It shores up the district for Republicans compared with the current 2nd.

The 1st, held by Rep. Cori Bush, D-St. Louis, stays confined to St. Louis and St. Louis County, with a larger footprint in the Webster Groves area than under the current congressional map.

While the map places many Webster Groves-area precincts in the 1st, it places other nearby areas in the 2nd.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Rep. Sarah Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury, said on Monday.

The House approved this congressional map on May 9, 2022.

The 2nd Congressional District would stretch from St. Charles County and west into Warren County.

Warren County south of Interstate 70 would be placed in the 2nd, held by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin. Voters north of Interstate 70 would be placed in the 3rd.

The 3rd would cover much of mid-Missouri and would snake east to take in the western half of Jefferson County.

The eastern half of Jefferson County, along the Mississippi River — including Festus, Barnhart and Imperial — would be placed in the 8th Congressional District, covering southeast Missouri.

Both the Whiteman Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood would be placed in the 4th Congressional District under the plan, a win for Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, who had pushed for keeping together the bases.

Shaul said the map approved on Monday differs somewhat from his plan adopted by the House Redistricting Committee last week.

For example, the plan last week split Phelps County between two districts, but the plan approved Monday places the entire county in the 8th Congressional District.

The legislation is House Bill 2909.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 9.

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