Missouri Senate endorses open meetings for redistricting

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 12:42 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — New redistricting efforts for the Missouri General Assembly would be conducted in public under a proposal endorsed by senators.

Officials responsible for drawing the districts for the 34-member Senate and 163-member House held some private discussions while considering maps.

Senators gave first-round approval Tuesday to a constitutional amendment that would make the redistricting commissions subject to Missouri's open meetings and records laws. The measure also expands restrictions for redistricting commissioners' eligibility to serve in the state legislature.

Bipartisan commissions are responsible for state legislature redistricting. If the commissions cannot reach agreement, a panel of appeals court judges takes over. The judicial panel has said it does not believe it was required to follow open meetings laws.

The measure would appear on the ballot later this year if it's approved by lawmakers.

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