July 29, 2014

St. Louis Senators demand re-draw of map; delay delay bill (AUDIO)

St. Louis state senators who don’t like proposed new district lines have refused to end uncertainty about when candidates can file….because they hope for a better deal.  But they’re not likely to get it.

Filing for legislative offices starts Tueday.  There are no senate districts. There are no House districts. There are no Congressional Districts.  But there is a proposed senate map that really upsets Senator Jane Cunningham of Chesterfield, who calls it nonsensical, illogical, irresponsible, stupid.”  

The map eliminates one St. Louis senate seat, throwing Cunningham into the same district with Senator Brian Nieves of Washington. 

Cunningham has convinced the sponsor to delay action on the filing delay bill, demanding the redistricting commission reconvene this weekend and adopt a map St. Louis senators have proposed that keeps the same number of senators the area has had. Senator Eric Schmitt says the region produces 45% of Missouri’s GDP and should retain all its senators.

But remapping commission chairman Dog Harpool says economics do not play a role—population does. And the St. Louis metro area’s population doesn’t justify as many senate seats as it has had.  Harpool also says the senate redistricting commission cannot let the St. Louis group write part of the statewide map, which would violate the commission’s constitutional oath.  He says the only way to do what the St. Louis group wants to do is to put all of that area’s districts in the lower level of acceptable population and put all of the other state’s districts at the high end.  “That’s not what one-man, one-vote is about,” he says.   As for Cunningham’s demand the commission redraw the map this weekend—No, says Harpool. 

The senate convenes Monday, 16 hours before filing will start unless the bill is passed. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan says she will start filing candidates at 8 a.m. Tuesday unless the delay bill is passed.  But she says they’ll have to file in existing congressional and legislative districts, an action that Harpool forecasts will trigger an immediate federal lawsuit claiming the old districts are so far out of population limits that they violate one-man one-vote. 

AUDIO: Harpool on map work 12:02

AUDIO: Senate debate 59:43

AUDIO: Harpool reacts 6:08