Missouri House, Senate override governor’s veto on redistricting bill

The bill went through both chambers twice before reaching the governor’s desk.

The redistricting bill veto declared by Gov. Jay Nixon last Saturday was overridden Wednesday by the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives.

The bill, which cut down the number of representative districts from nine to eight because of a comparatively low state population increase based on 2010 census numbers, had already gone through the House and Senate twice before it was sent to the governor, where it was then vetoed.

The seat removed belongs to Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis.

“I'm extremely pleased that we were able to get by partisan politics to override the veto,” Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles said. He was the original sponsor of the senate’s redistricting bill.

“We went to a lot of areas of the state to get their input,” said Rep. Glen Klippenstein, R-Maysville, who was on the House’s redistricting committee. “We had certain instructions to keep the districts as compact and conducive as possible and still allow for the implementation of the civil rights law of 1964 and have the same number of constituents for each district. With all of that in mind, we did the best that we could.”

Klippenstein said the redistricting bill was controversial because the district and representative being cut out was from St. Louis and also within Nixon’s partisan range. He said this could have contributed to the governor’s veto.

“Part of the problem was that when you have to get rid of one district, you get rid of one congressperson,” Klippenstein said. “These people are part of allegiances and are allies, and in this instance, it involved the same party as the governor.”

Rupp said there has been pressure from the national Democratic Party to maintain districts in its favor to help its constituencies.

Klippenstein said a successful override does not necessarily reflect the governor’s policies well.

Each chamber of Congress needed a two-thirds approval to override Nixon’s veto. The legislation passed in the Senate by 28-6. The House scraped by with exactly two-thirds approval, according to a senate news release.

“There needed to be 109 representative votes to pass the bill, and that's exactly the number it hit,” Klippenstein said. “The legislation also needed people from (the governor’s) party to override the veto.”

Klippenstein said the last time the governor’s veto had been successfully overridden by Congress was in 2003 with legislation regarding concealed weapons and abortion.

"As I have stated before, I do not believe this map reflects a fair representation of the interests for all regions of our state,” Nixon said in a news release. “Now that the map is finalized, we expect a robust electoral process in these significantly altered districts."

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