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Legislature passes redistricting plan

May 16, 2001
By: Matt Williams
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 1000

JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers came to an agreement on congressional redistricting Wednesday when the Senate and House approved a compromise map by wide margins.

The plan, similar to a proposal approved by the House last week, passed with the support of the leadership in both the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratically-controlled House.

The proposal now heads to the governor for final approval.

Most of the debate centered on the proposal's division of St. Louis, which moves parts of the county away from Rep Todd Akin's district to Rep. Lacy Clay's district.

Several St. Louis County senators, including Sen. David Klarich, had stalled the bill for most of the day Tuesday with an amendment to shift about 14,000 people between Clay's and Akin's district. Klarich said he wanted Akin's district to largely stay where it is.

He said the plan would take away the area's voice in congress and further compared the county's situation to the movie "Castaway".

"We're the ones that are going to be talking to a volleyball," Klarich said.

Akin said in a letter to Senators that he opposed the plan, but spokesman Steve Taylor said they had not "orchestrated a filibuster."

Taylor added that while Akin dislikes the plan, it doesn't hurt his chances for re-election.

"Politically, this is a map that is very livable for the congressman," Taylor said.

The amendment was eventually defeated and the bill was swiftly approved. The measure was then approved by the House after a brief debate.