Many have suggested that more light should be shed upon the process by which the state’s House and Senate Districts are drawn. One state senator is trying to pull back the window shade.
Sen. Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) has filed a Senate Joint Resolution to require all meetings of any Senate or House redistricting commission or judicial commission to be public and require those commissions to obey the state’s open meetings and records law.
Crowell says he thinks he was as surprised as everyone by the process that unfolded.
“I found it very troubling that not very many public hearings were done and then that all the executive sessions, if you want to speak legislative jargon, were held behind closed doors,” he says.
The Senator thinks the process is clearly subject to the Sunshine Law.
“I know of no reason why this process should not be as transparent and open as possible.”
Crowell emphasizes he does not want to change the way redistricting happens.
“I don’t know how you could change the process,” he says. “I mean, I think the process is pretty good. I’m not critical of that process at all, and please don’t misinterpret my legislation as being critical of that process … all I’m saying is I think we can enhance that process by making it subject to the open records laws … the sunshine laws of the state. Make it completely transparent and know why particular decisions were made.”
Crowell notes the new districts will not impact him as he is not seeking another term in the Senate.