Missouri Senate
97th General Assembly
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Bob Dixon

Serving the People of the
30th Senatorial District

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Constituent LinE:


Senator Bob Dixon
Missouri Senate
State Capitol, Room 332
201 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65101



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Sunshine and Clarity in Redistricting

Especially during the first half of session, legislators have to contend not only with the twists and turns of the legislative process, but also with the unpredictability of nature. Two years ago, dangerous travel conditions left many lawmakers stuck in the Capitol after a winter storm. Of course, no one can forget the impact of the 2007 ice storm. A storm also cut short last week's legislative work, and it appears we still haven't seen the end of severe winter weather. However, before the major winter storm broke, the Senate was able to debate a number of bills and give final approval to five. At this time, a total of twenty-nine Senate bills have been sent to the House for further consideration.

Bringing Sunshine and Clarity to the Redistricting Process


Earlier in the week, I was able to present one of my proposed constitutional amendments (Senate Joint Resolution 7) before the Senate Committee on Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions & Ethics. SJR 7 builds on the work I began with a similar constitutional amendment (SJR 48). Last year, the Senate approved SJR 48, passing it by a 32-to-0 vote, but the House never brought it up for debate. I re-filed this amendment, as SJR 7, with a single purpose in mind: to close loopholes, take care of some obvious oversights, and offer greater transparency and accountability in the legislative redistricting process.


Every ten years, after each federal census, the Missouri Constitution requires legislative district boundaries to be redrawn in order to reflect population changes. Although the General Assembly redraws the congressional districts, Missouri has two separate citizen commissions for the House and the Senate, unless one or both commissions fail to reach an agreement. Then, the Missouri Supreme Court selects six appellate judges to complete the task. This time, the original commissions failed and an appellate commission produced not one-but two-sets of unconstitutional Senate maps before a second citizen commission finally produced a new set of senatorial districts. Along the way, we saw several court cases and disagreements about whether the appellate commission had to comply with the state's Sunshine Law about open meetings. The process of redrawing these boundaries, and the resulting changes in districts, can have a dramatic impact on how you are represented in the General Assembly. There were numerous complaints about the process, but I fear those complaints may fade as time passes. I would like to see the process cleaned up, streamlined and subject to sunshine to prevent the same widespread confusion in ten years. My effort here is a proactive one.  


The public has a right to be confident in the integrity of the redistricting process, but the current procedures don't inspire confidence. SJR 7 would remove some murky and unclear language and create clarity through consistent constitutional rules. For instance, SJR 7 would make clear that the state's Sunshine Law applies to the work of any redistricting commission. More input through an open process means maps that accurately and fairly represent Missourians and their interests. Also, current constitutional language prohibits commissioners from running for a legislative office for four years after the final map is filed. SJR 7 would increase the disqualification period to ten years and make it effective even if the commission fails to complete its job of drawing a map. These are just two of a handful of changes that could greatly improve the entire process and its final product.  

In the Missouri Senate

One of the Senate's recent significant actions was passage of SB 1, which would change the state's law relating to the Second Injury Fund and occupational disease within the workers' compensation system. By a vote of 32 to 2, the Senate sent the measure to the House of Representatives. This letter from the State Auditor sums up the current status of the Second Injury Fund, and why action by the General Assembly is important. With respect to the Second Injury Fund, SB 1 would create a funding mechanism to bolster the Fund when usual collections do not meet its demands and establish a priority for paying fund liabilities. In addition, the bill would bring occupational disease claims within the current workers' compensation system.


A sizeable number of Senate bills (nearly 14% of the total bills filed) have been referred to the Judiciary Committee. Among the issues for consideration are revisions to Missouri's Criminal Code, changes to Missouri's Public Defender System, medical malpractice reform measures, changes to Missouri's Sunshine Law, legislation protecting the conscience rights of individuals who provide medical services, and much more.


For more detailed information on current events in the Senate, I would encourage you to read the most recent Capitol Briefing from Senate Communications or listen to audio from This Week in the Missouri Senate.


Share Your Thoughts

My door is always open, and I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2583. You can write me at the address listed below, e-mail me at bob.dixon@senate.mo.gov, or visit me on the web at www.senate.mo.gov/dixon. I look forward to hearing from you.