JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A group of state senators derailed the agenda Wednesday to stress their frustration with the new congressional map for Missouri.
Members of the Conservative Caucus held up the Senate for hours because the 6 Republican, 2 Democrat map (that passed out of the House last week) is not what they wanted, saying they are prepared to stand their ground as long as it takes.
“My phones have been blowing up in my office for support of a 7 [Republican]-1 [Democrat] or a much strong 6 [Republican]-2 [Democrat] map,” Sen. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) said Wednesday on the floor. “It’s going to have ramifications for the next decade in this state.”
Meetings were canceled and the Senate floor was cleared out for much of the morning and early afternoon, except for those fighting to redraw the lines.
“How does this affect the tone of the session going forward?,” Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) said. “Don’t worry about that, folks, we’re talking about the future of our country.
The only senators on the floor for the longest time were members of the Conservative Caucus, including Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), Sen. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), and Sen. Bill Eigel (R-Weldon Spring).
“I am very optimistic that we are going to come to a solution of some sort,” Eigel said. “I’m not sure if it’s a solution that everybody is going to be happy with, nor am I certain that it’s going to solve every different problem that every member of this body has, but, we are working very hard on that.”
Eigel said just before 1 p.m. to expect a “solution” in the coming hours. Two hours later, the Senate recessed with no answer.
The 6 Republican – 2 Democrat map passed out of a Senate hearing Tuesday by a 9-5 vote. Three Republicans joined two Democrats in voting against the map, concerned that after the November election, the Republicans might lose a seat.
“I felt like people with new information with new revelation of what we could do, was brought forth and then yesterday was ran through the hearing,” Brattin said.
Democrats have previously said they also plan to fight for changes.
“I want a 5 [Republican] – 3 [Democrat] map honestly, I mean, a 5-3 is more representative of what the state of Missouri is and where we are at,” Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, said.
Over in the House, members failed to pass an emergency clause, which puts the map into effect as soon as the governor signs it, compared to waiting until the end of August when the primaries would already be over, which could affect your ballot. During the committee hearing, chairman Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City) proposed an emergency clause for the Senate, which also passed 9-5. If approved in front of the full Senate, it will head back to the House for another vote.
The census data shows the state population grew to 6,154,913 which means each of the eight congressional districts needs an additional 20,000. Both the 1st and the 8th districts lost people, while the 7th gained more residents, meaning lines had to be redrawn.