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Senator Proposes Reducing Size of General Assembly

Missouri lawmakers are considering a proposal that would reduce the number of state representatives and senators. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Having served in both the House and Senate, Republican Senator Matt Bartle says the General Assembly is too large.

He's proposing reducing the size of the House from 163 representatives to 99'and reducing the senate from 34 members to 33.

Bartle says now that Republicans control the House, Senate and Governor's Office, it's time to make some serious changes.

A similar idea had the support of a Democratic Senator several years ago but the proposal didn't gain much support, even though there weren't any vocal opponents.

Bartle says he doesn't think his proposal will be very popular either.

He says he expects Republicans, members of his own party to oppose a reduction in the size of the House and Senate.

Bartle says the practical effect his proposal is to increase the number of Missourians in each representative's district.

That means instead of having about 33 thousand constituents, each representative would have 55 thousand.

But he says representatives will still be able to take care of constituent concerns.

Bartle says his proposal could save millions of dollars but wouldn't impact the ability of lawmakers to respond to constituents.

Any change to the size of the General Assembly would require amending the Constitution, something that needs voter approval.

Bartle's proposal is up for consideration in a senate committee.