It has the votes, despite some grumbling. The House has approved a map that reflects a bitter reality: Missouri loses a congressional district due to the 2010 Census.
The map approved by the House Special Standing Committee on Redistricting wins approval on a 106-to-53 vote. Members reject three attempts to amend HCS/HB 193.
Rep. Joe Aull, a Democrat from Marshall, objects to putting Ray, Lafayette and Saline Counties in the 5th Congressional District with Kansas City, arguing that the rural counties will get lost in the mostly urban and suburban district and, in effect, be without representation in Congress. His amended map loses 44-110. Rep. Mike Colona, a Democrat from St. Louis, fails to change the map to keep Jefferson County in one district. He claims the committee map “butchers” Jefferson County, splitting it into three districts. His amendment fails 51-106. And Rep. Ron Casey, a Democrat from Crystal City who served on the committee, falls short in his attempt to change the map and give the St. Louis area three congressional seats 57-99.
Colona of St. Louis questions the move by Republican leadership to rush the bill through the amendment process and the final vote in a single day.
“We run the risk today by perfecting and third reading this on the same day, kicking it out, with the fire nipping at our heels,” Colona tells colleagues. “We run the risk of being accused of playing party politics.”
That’s exactly the accusation leveled by Democrat Scott Sifton, a representative from St. Louis, who sees the map as insuring Republican dominance in the state Congressional delegation.
“For Democrats to support sending a net-plus-four votes for a Republican Speaker nationally, Mr. Speaker, I believe is not representative of the state of Missouri as a whole,” Sifton says, referring to a map that effectively wipes out the 3rd Congressional District of Democrat Russ Carnahan and redraws it as a squat version of the 9th Congressional District of Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer.
Yet, Democrat Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis supports the map, because it protects a black Congressional District in St. Louis.
“The 1st Congressional should be protected due to the Voters Rights Act and that’s what I have done and I don’t make no apology about it,” Nasheed tells colleagues during floor debate.
Though Nasheed urges every African-American legislator in the House to support the interests of the 1st, she wins only three other black representatives’ votes. The vote is important. House Republican leaders need to secure and hold 109 votes to override a possible veto by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon. The final vote falls short of that veto-proof majority, but the three Republicans who have voted against the bill might switch to override a veto.
That’s getting ahead of the game, though. The map now moves to the Senate, which is working on its own version.
Click here to view redistricing map approved by the House.