Judges to hold public hearing Thursday on drawing new legislative districts

After the two residents’ commissions failed to draw state House and Senate districts by their constitutional deadline this summer, the job has been assigned to six judges from Missouri’s appeals court.

And they’re holding a public hearing in Jefferson City at the Secretary of State’s James C. Kirkpatrick Office Building, 600 W. Main St., on Thursday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

The state Constitution requires new state legislative districts to be drawn every 10 years, after the U.S. Census Bureau releases the official numbers from the national census.

The Constitution places that duty in the hands of two commissions — one for the House and another for the Senate — with members chosen from lists proposed by each of the state’s two largest political parties.

Each panel is required to have a final report completed by mid-September, or the Constitution gives the job to the appeals court judges who are named by the state Supreme Court.

They must have a new map drawn before the end of the year.

The judicial commission has been given the public comments made to the two commissions earlier this year, and a news release from the Missouri Bar said Thursday’s hearing “is to supplement any previous public comments received by the House and Senate Apportionment Commissions.”

A sign-in sheet will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m., and it will determine the order of speakers.

There will be a 10-minute time limit for each speaker.

The judges will receive comments first about redrawing the state Senate districts, followed by comments regarding the House districts.

The Commission will receive public comments only at the public hearing, or via e-mail.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may e-mail comments to redistricting@courts.mo.gov.

The judges on the Appellate Apportionment Commission are: Lisa White Hardwick, Kansas City; Don E. Burrell Jr., Springfield; Robert G. Dowd Jr., St. Louis; Nancy Steffen Rahmeyer, Springfield; Roy L. Richter, St. Louis; and James E. Welsh, Kansas City.

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