Current state law allows anyone in Missouri to run for any congressional district, regardless of which part of the state they live in. A bill by Rep. Aaron McMullen, R-Independence, would change that.

McMullen said under current law, someone living in St. Louis or Kansas City could run for one of Missouri’s rural congressional districts and vice-versa. He pointed out this year’s race for Missouri’s Third Congressional District, in which some of the contenders don’t live in the district.

“We have these top-heavy, you know, primaries where we have 10 to 15 people running or seven to eight people running and half of them actually don’t live in the district,” McMullen told Missourinet. “(That) is I think – and I see – is a bit problematic.”

His bill would require candidates to live in the district they want to represent for at least two years before running for Congress.

“It at least requires the person to move to the area, put down roots, understand the population, and, you know, overall, just make you a better representative for the people in Congress,” McMullen said.

No one testified against the bill during a recent public hearing, but one committee member suggested that someone who grew up in one congressional district but now lives in another should not be barred from running in the district he or she grew up in.

Since there’s less than a month left in this year’s legislative session, McMullen is hoping to add his bill to another one that’s farther along in the process. The 2024 regular session ends May 17th.

For more information on House Bill 2416, click here.

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