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Court asked to invalidate new state Senate districts

Court asked to invalidate new state Senate districts

January 5th, 2012 by Chris Blank, the Associated Press in News

The Missouri Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to consider a legal challenge over newly drawn districts for the 34-member state Senate, scheduling oral arguments for next week.

A lawyer from Columbia asked the state high court to strike down the new map Tuesday, arguing that some districts in the redistricting plan are unconstitutional. New boundaries were drawn for the Missouri Senate by a panel of six appellate judges to reflect population changes from the 2010 census.

Those new districts have faced criticism for a variety of reasons. The Appellate Apportionment Commission filed its original map Nov. 30, but submitted a revised map Dec. 9 after concerns were raised that some counties were wrongly split into multiple Senate districts. The Missouri Constitution says Senate district lines shall not cross a county except when necessary to add people to a nearby district because the neighboring county has too many people to fit into a single Senate district.

Attorney David Brown said the redistricting commission was not authorized to submit its second map. He also argues both redistricting proposals wrongly cut up counties and the second map unnecessarily would deprive voters in one district of Senate representation until 2015.