“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of March 28: Combining Fairness and Reality

Missouri is now one step closer to having its new congressional districts finalized for the next decade. Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau goes through a long process of mailing, conducting online and in-person surveys, in order to get the most accurate count possible of how many people live in the United States.

This data helps determine how many people will represent each state in Congress. It is up to the Missouri General Assembly to then decide where the congressional boundaries should be drawn. By law, this is to be done in the most contiguous and compact method possible. Meaning boundary lines should reflect not only natural areas — such as existing county lines and geographical lines, like rivers — but should also reflect what are called “communities of interest,” which tend to be in more urban parts of our state.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, census figures were delayed by a year, which gave the Legislature less time to have boundaries drawn before February of this year. There was also a lot of discussion about the boundary map in the Missouri Senate, which added more time to making a final decision. In the end, senators were able to come up with a compromise plan. Since the Senate version of the congressional redistricting map is different than that created by the Missouri House of Representatives, in House Bill 2117, the map will return to the Missouri House. From there, we hope to see quick turnaround and the governor able to sign the bill into law not long after.

As co-chair of the Missouri Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, I would like to thank not only the other members of this panel, but all of my colleagues in the Missouri Senate for working through this process and passing what I believe to be a fair map that not only takes into consideration the current layout of our state, but also looks ahead to the next 10 years.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.