The tweaks the Missouri Senate crafted in a Congressional redistricting plan do not satisfy the House of Representatives. The House has rejected the changes and has instead proposed to have a select group of House and Senate members find a compromise.
Both House and Senate versions include six Republican strongholds and two Democratic ones but they vary in shape and population size.
The Missouri House passed a redistricting bill back in January. Due to GOP squabbling for the first half of the session, the Senate passed its version last Thursday.
The House voted 115-19 to reject the Senate’s version. Twelve House members voted “Present”.
Bill sponsor, state Representative Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, says he wants to come up with the best possible map.
“Are there things that would possibly stay from the first map, the original map, and some from this? Quite possibly,” he says. “It doesn’t mean that if we reject it and send it back for conference, it doesn’t mean we’re saying this map is completely bad in all senses. There may be some areas of this map that people in this body like, but what we’re saying is we’re not completely happy with it and we’d much rather take one more shot at it.”
State Representative Mike McGirl, R-Potosi, tells Shaul he does not like the way the second Congressional district looks. It stretches from St. Louis County to Iron County in southeast Missouri.
“To me, District Two looks like gerrymandering on steroids,” McGirl added.
“It’s something that I would have expected out of a Clean Missouri before we did the Cleaner Missouri,” said Shaul.
State Representative Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, said he supports the Senate version and sending the House bill back to the Senate could be volatile. Schroer and Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, argued over gerrymandering – a term used to describe when boundaries are manipulated to favor one party.
“Nowhere in our state constitution is gerrymandering unlawful,” says Schroer.
“If you don’t want to follow the law, that’s fine but I want to follow the law. The law is pretty clear,” said Wiemann.
Wiemann and Schroer are both running in the Republican primary for the 2nd state Senatorial District. Their debate became tense at times, to the point where Wiemann accused Schroer of “showboating” and trying to be a “big shot” for arguing with him.
State Representative Don Rone, R-Portageville, says the House does not need to rubber-stamp the Senate’s work.
“They sent us a map with two days left,” he said. “Why did they send it to us? Because that’s the only map that they could get out of the floor. Was it the best one? Certainly not. But what it did, it took care of some people, some Senators down there that needed it for their political benefit – and everybody on this floor knows that. That’s the elephant in the room nobody will talk about.”
The proposal to negotiate heads back to the Senate, where “Conservative Caucus” Republicans could stall a vote. Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, indicates that is the case.
Clarification: The House position on congressional maps was the #HB2117 #5-3 #PelosiMap. And correct, there is no way we will go to conference to move toward the #PelosiMap. #moleg #MAGA @senatecaucus @MissouriGOP https://t.co/XRGsz9VYbt
— Dr. Bob Onder (@BobOnderMO) March 30, 2022
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