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Mo. Senate panel OKs new congressional districts

A Missouri Senate committee today released and voted to approve its proposal to redraw the state’s congressional districts.   

The Senate map is similar tothe House map, as both split up the district represented by Democrat Russ Carnahan among four other districts, three of which are currently represented by Republicans.

Both maps also give three rural counties to the urban Kansas City district, and shifts Columbia from the district represented by second-term Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer(R) to the one represented by freshman Vicky Hartzler(R).

The differences include splitting several Missouri counties among two districts, and a smaller portion of Jefferson County would be added to the rural southeastern Missouri districtState Senator Scott Rupp(R, Wentzville) chairs the committee.

“It’s got the same number of people in every district," Rupp said.  "We took into consideration all (of) the Voting Rights Act in the First District that we had to do, so I think it’s a very well drawn, very well thought-out map.”

State Senator Robin Wright-Jones(D, St. Louis) also sits on the Senate Redistricting Committee.  She says she’s concerned that the GOP’s map would weaken the voice of minority voters.

“By having a 6-2 (Republicans to Democrats) map, we don’t have the opportunity for as much voice and representation in Congress as we could have," Wright-Jones said.  "I think five Republican and three Democratic districts will give us the opportunity to maintain (that) voice and not lose it.”

Senate Democrats may offer their own redistricting map when the current bill goes to the floor for debate. 

Meanwhile, two maps being considered by a House committee are scheduled to be voted on tomorrow. 

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.