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      Work begins to eliminate congressional district

      It's time to decide how to redraw the map and turn Missouri TMs nine congressional districts into eight.

      A Missouri Senate committee has planned hearings around the state to gather suggestions about redrawing congressional districts.

      Republican Sen. Scott Rupp, of Wentzville, is chairman of the Senate Committee on Redistricting. He has scheduled the first of a series of public hearings for Friday at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff.

      KRCG reported in December the state lost one seat in the U.S. House because of new 2010 census numbers. The census showed that Missouri TMs population is growing slower than the national average.

      District boundaries also must be adjusted for faster-growing areas within the state.

      The last time Missouri lost a seat in Congress was in 1980. Since then, Missouri has enjoyed nine representatives in Washington, D.C. This is the smallest delegation Missouri has had since the 1850 census

      One less voice in Washington means Missouri will have one less vote for president in the electoral college and the state is likely to get less federal money for local projects. Some analysts say it could also make it harder for Missourians to get help resolving issues with federal agencies.

      "The shift of 12 seats overall affecting 18 states. States gaining seats include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. Those losing states are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania."

      District boundaries also must be adjusted for faster-growing areas within the state.

      Every 10 years, the 435 seats in the U.S. House are redistributed among the states based on population.

      The House also has a committee dedicated to redistricting. The redistricting plan must pass both chambers, just like any other piece of legislation, and then be agreed to by Governor Jay Nixon.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this story.)