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Congressional redistricting back in Senate next week

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After a week derailed by snow and the governor’s appointees, the Missouri Senate is expected to take up congressional redistricting again next week. 

“I’m hopeful next week goes off without too much fanfare, but I believe we will get a map done next week,” Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz said in an interview. 

Schatz said he’s “optimistic” that senators will be able to work out any remaining issues with the map this week and be prepared to hammer out a map from the floor on Monday when legislators reconvene. 

Session was canceled Wednesday and Thursday due to the snowstorm that blanketed much of Missouri. 

But before the Senate bells will chime Monday, a rally is planned in the Capitol with Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Conservative Caucus Sens. Bill Eigel, Mike Moon, and Bob Onder in support of a congressional map that would favor Republicans in seven of the eight districts. 

Redistricting has driven a wedge between the more conservative members of the Senate and Republican leadership already this session. A version passed out of the House — but sans an emergency clause — is considered to favor Republicans with six districts. 

The conservative contingent, however, has said that map would ultimately only leave five GOP-held districts, calling it the “Joe Biden/Nancy Pelosi” map. 

Last week, the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting passed that map out (with an emergency clause) in a 9-5 vote with two Democrats siding with conservative members to vote against it. No one had testified in favor of the map. 

A compromise is said to be in the works that would “strengthen” the 2nd congressional district for Republicans and tweak the 1st congressional district which Congresswoman Cori Bush, a progressive, represents. 

St. Charles Republicans, including Eigel and Onder, have wanted that county to be in one congressional district as opposed to splitting it between two as it is now. 

The only changes that have been made to the original proposal were keeping Ray County intact and using the Missouri River as a natural boundary to put Carroll and Chariton counties in the 6th congressional district.  

It’s not just the Conservative Caucus upset about the map: Democrats have eyed how the 1st congressional district is drawn. According to Sen. Steven Roberts, it should be drawn more to the northwest in order to ensure protection under the Voting Rights Act. 

Even if Republicans in the Senate can coalesce on a congressional map, the work isn’t done, Schatz noted. The House will still need to give its stamp of approval, and Republicans could not shore up enough votes last go-round to attach an emergency clause. 

Last week, more than 100 people rallied in the Capitol rotunda to protest against Gov. Mike Parson’s pick to lead the health department. They were joined by members of the Conservative Caucus.

Moon led a filibuster in protest of the health director nominee, who ultimately resigned.