Reapportionment committee suspends efforts, issue goes to courts

Since April, a panel of nine Republicans and nine Democrats have hashed over changes to the state's 163 house districts. On Friday, they decided to suspend those efforts and turn reapportionment over to the court system.

"We feel very much that there has been a lot of hard work, and everybody has been earnest " or generally earnest " in try to proceed, said Joe Maxwell, Commission Chairman.

The commission's Republicans have a decidedly different assessment ...

"The Democratic commissioners' new plan is an attempt, i think, to put partisan political objects over a compact, low-deviation map that respects communities of interest and fairly represents all Missourians, Commission Vice Chairman Ann Wagner said.

The Constitution says the process must provide districts that are compact, have balanced populations, and respect communities of common interest.

"There are countless examples of the democrat map splitting subdivisions, small cities, and even small counties for no apparent reason, Wagner said.

Wagner suggested the real motive was to pit Republican incumbents against one another and erode the GOP majority in the house.

Redistricting was never intended to impose a massive second wave of term limits on a scale this large, she said.

The Democrats on the Commission did not really challenge the GOP assertions, but countered that the complaints were disingenuous. Joe Maxwell quoted from a statement Wagner made at a GOP event while she was still state party chairman and just after republicans took control of the house for the first time in decades. "...'The New state Senate and state House boundaries are clearly the most pro-GOP of any in history, due to demographic shifts and a highly-Republican approach to redistricting.' The fact is, this is a partisan process whether we like it or not. But I think we can find some common ground to move forward, he said.