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Panels deadlocked as legislative redistricting deadline nears

Panels deadlocked as legislative redistricting deadline nears

JEFFERSON CITY • The politically sensitive job of redrawing Missouri House and Senate districts appears headed to the courts.

Bipartisan commissions that were supposed to redraw the boundaries have deadlocked, giving up before tomorrow’s deadline.

That means Chief Justice Richard Teitelman of the Missouri Supreme Court will appoint six judges from the Missouri Court of Appeals to do the job. They’ll have 90 days after the original commissions are disbanded.

Every 10 years the chambers’ lines are revised to make sure that each legislative district has the same number of people. The new maps will set boundaries for the 163 House seats and the 34 Senate seats.

One of the sticking points for the commissions revolved around which incumbents should be pitted against each other in areas that have lost population.

For example, in St. Louis, one proposed map would have forced a faceoff between Democratic Reps. Jamilah Nasheed and Penny Hubbard. Both are African-American.

Nasheed said that would have reduced the influence of minorities, and “African-Americans are already underrepresented” in the House.

In St. Louis County, the proposed map included a diverse district stretching from University City to Ladue. That would have thrown together two lawyers of different political stripes - Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, and Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country.

“If I do run against John, it would be a battle of ideology, not personality,” Ellinger said.


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Virginia Young is the Jefferson City bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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