Missouri proposal calls for open redistricting meetings

Thursday, December 15, 2011 | 1:30 p.m. CST; updated 6:15 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 26, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri senator wants to change the secretive process used to draw new legislative districts.

Republican Sen. Jason Crowell, of Cape Girardeau, is proposing a constitutional amendment to require redistricting commissions to follow the state's public meetings and open records law.

State House and Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years based on new census figures. Special commissions with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats get the first try at the new maps. If they cannot agree, a panel of appeals court judges takes over.

This year, the appellate judges were responsible for the House and Senate maps. They developed the maps behind closed doors after accepting public testimony for one day. The judges said they did not believe they were required to follow state open meetings laws.

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