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Missouri senators OK new redistricting proposal

February 11, 2020 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Republican-led Missouri Senate on Monday passed a proposal to once again ask voters to change the state’s redistricting rules.

Less than two years after voters approved a new redistricting plan, senators voted 22-9 in favor of another constitutional amendment to change how state House and Senate districts are drawn. Only one Republican, Sen. Lincoln Hough of Springfield, joined Democrats in opposing the measure.

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If approved by the GOP-led House, the proposal will go before voters this year.

At issue is a 2018 constitutional amendment approved by voters that made “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness” the top criteria for drawing state House and Senate districts. The Senate plan would lower those to the least important factors.

Republicans pushing the new initiative say the 2018 amendment was deceptively marketed because it was packaged with a series of attractive ethics reforms, including a $5 limit on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.

The new Republican-backed proposal also includes changes to ethics laws, such as an outright ban on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.

Senate Democrats argued that the constitutional amendment would undo redistricting changes made by voters less than two years ago.