House Committee passes redistricting plan

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 9:19 p.m. CDT; updated 11:33 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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These are the plans drawn up by the House and Senate redistricting committees for Missouri’s new congressional districts based on the 2010 census results.

JEFFERSON CITY — A day after a Senate committee approved a plan to eliminate Democratic U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan's district, the House Redistricting Committee followed suit.

Missouri lost a congressional district based on 2010 Census results and must reduce the number of districts from nine to eight. Both Senate and House redistricting committees have drawn up new boundaries, and the maps are similar.

Both maps put Boone County in the 4th District, which would encompass the west-central sector of the state. The area's representative would be Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville.

Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican from St. Elizabeth, Mo., who represents Boone County, would be in another district.

The two maps must be reconciled, then passed by both chambers and signed by the governor.

The plan winding through the House was proposed by Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, who chairs the redistricting committee. It passed Tuesday on a 10-1 vote.

Notably, it reconfigures the boundaries of St. Louis and St. Louis County, which both lost population in the past decade. The plan would put U.S. Reps. Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan in the same district.

The only "no" vote Tuesday came from Rep. Ron Casey, D-Crystal City, who lives in Carnahan's district.

The hearing also solicited testimony from the public, and dozens of Jackson County residents expressed anger because both maps divide their county.

"They carve out all of the Republican votes in Jackson County and put them in the 6th District to make 5th District super-fortified Democrat and the 6th District super-fortified Republican," said Donna Turk of Jackson County, which includes portions of Kansas City and Independence.

Diehl was more circumspect.

"I think the fact that Senate and the Democrats came up with a map that's only about 2 percent different than this one," he said. "I think that tells you we are probably pretty close to the right answer."

An official plan must be in place before the 2012 elections.

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