By TIM ROWDEN
Missouri Senate Republicans are moving forward on a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to undo statehouse redistricting reforms Missouri voters ratified in November 2018 with 62 percent support with passage of Clean Missouri (Amendment 1).
The Senate Rules Committee approved the proposed amendment Jan. 22. The House General Laws Committee heard two similar proposals the same day and was scheduled to vote on them after Labor Tribune press time on Jan. 27.
Under the new redistricting system approved by voters in Clean Missouri, state House and Senate districts are to be drawn by a non-partisan state demographer using constitutional criteria designed to maximize the number of competitive districts. This new system is scheduled to be used during the 2021 redistricting cycle, which will produce new districts to be used starting in 2022.
Senate Joint Resolution 38 and the similar House measures would restore a modified version of the old redistricting system that had been in use since 1966. Under that system, partisan commissions consisting of equal numbers of Democratic and Republican loyalists chosen by their respective state party have first crack at drawing new state legislative districts. More often than not, however, the partisan commissions fail to agree and the task is kicked to a special commission of six appellate judges.
Republicans, who built super-majorities over the last decade under the old system, have opposed the reforms since they were placed on the 2018 ballot by an initiative petition. If the Legislature approves a proposed amendment to undo the reforms and overturn the will of 1.4 million Missourians who supported the Clean Missouri Amendment, it would go on the November 2020 ballot for voter ratification.