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Fitzwater’s plan to reduce size of state House moves forward

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican state Rep. Travis Fitzwater’s resolution to reduce the size of the state House advanced this week after he made some minor tweaks.

The constitutional amendment — in its current form — would create a four-to-one ratio of House districts to Senate districts in Missouri, bringing the number of House seats to 136. Unlike the original proposal, the number of Senate seats would remain unchanged if the resolution is approved by voters.

“I came here to be a good government Republican, and this is one area that seems completely obvious that we can put before the voters,” Fitzwater told The Missouri Times. 

He noted his resolution would better “organize” the House districts so that they correspond with just one Senate district. Fitzwater’s 49th district, for example, encompasses two Senate districts, he said.

The resolution passed out of the House General Laws Committee Thursday and is headed to the Rules Committee. The lone vote against the resolution was cast by Republican state Rep. Chuck Basye.

The original version, which Fitzwater presented Monday, would have slashed the number of state representatives to 120 from 163, yet increase the size of the state Senate by six lawmakers. 

Fitzwater defended the resolution as a “good government” proposal and told his colleagues he was serious about moving it forward.

“I want this to be a legitimate conversation,” he said.

Fitzwater previously said his plan could reduce millions of dollars per year in total costs to the state if voters approve it. He also maintained the resolution should be decided during a general election. A special election would be costly, he said, and would “undo” the fiscal savings the resolution would otherwise provide. 

The measure would also change the term limit requirements for legislators, limiting members to 12 years in the General Assembly total instead of the current 8 year limit in each chamber.