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Missouri House gives preliminary approval to congressional redistricting map

 The above map was filed by Rep. Dan Shaul, a Jefferson County Republican who heads up the House redistricting committee.
Courtesy of Dan Shaul
The above map was filed by Rep. Dan Shaul, a Jefferson County Republican who heads up the House redistricting committee.

The Missouri House gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a redistricting map that would likely keep Missouri’s congressional delegation the same.

House members voted 84-60 in favor of the map, with all yes votes coming from Republicans.

Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial, who chaired the House committee responsible for congressional redistricting, said his goals for the map, in addition to it being constitutionally sound, included meeting a series of requirements like having the map comply with the Voting Rights Act and the districts being compact and contiguous. The committee also had to use data from the 2020 census.

“We may like the data by the census, we may not. We do not have a choice; we must use that data from the census,” Shaul said.

Those requirements resulted in a map that’s similar to the one Missouri has now and would likely again send six Republicans and two Democrats to Congress.

However, some Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the map, though for different reasons.

Democrats offered several amendments on the House floor to modify the map. One, proposed by LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, would have modified Missouri’s 1st Congressional District by drawing the district more northwest and increasing the minority population. The district, currently represented by Cori Bush, is protected under the Voting Rights Act.

“We’re voting on a district that has an impact and has been fought for, for generations,” Bosley said.

Republicans also submitted new maps for consideration with the intention of picking up a congressional seat and having a 7-1 majority. Though some Republicans have voiced support for a 7-1 map, it’s a position in contrast to some in leadership who have been vocal in their preference for a 6-2 map.

Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, was the first to offer an amendment that drew a 7-1 map.

“We are trying to ensure that the representatives that we’re putting forth with these boundaries are representing the core values of the people here in the state of Missouri,” Schroer said.

However, Schroer’s map was not put up for consideration because it did not meet the requirement of the districts having equal population.

Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, in addition to bringing up the population error, spoke against the map itself.

“It intentionally splits up communities that the amendment sponsor doesn’t agree with into multiple districts to intentionally weaken their representation and power,” Merideth said.

Though representatives did not vote on Schroer’s map, they did reject a different 7-1 map as well as all other amendments that modified the map on the House floor.

The House must vote again before the map goes to the Senate. That includes a vote on the emergency clause to immediately put the map into effect. If an emergency clause is not adopted, the maps won't go into effect until Aug. 28, which would be after the Aug. 2 primary date.

Follow Sarah Kellogg on Twitter: @sarahkkellogg

Copyright 2022 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Kellogg is a first year graduate student at the University of Missouri studying public affairs reporting. She spent her undergraduate days as a radio/television major and reported for KBIA. In addition to reporting shifts, Sarah also hosted KBIA’s weekly education show Exam, was an afternoon newscaster and worked on the True/False podcast. Growing up, Sarah listened to episodes of Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! with her parents during long car rides. It’s safe to say she was destined to end up in public radio.