The antics in Jefferson City during the past few weeks are more reason to drive home a point we’ve been making in this space for some time: Missouri needs to overhaul the way it draws political boundaries.

The antics in Jefferson City during the past few weeks are more reason to drive home a point we’ve been making in this space for some time: Missouri needs to overhaul the way it draws political boundaries.

Even now, as candidates have begun to file, there is litigation on the state Senate map taking effect this year. That follows the fiasco of 2011 in which a bipartisan commission couldn’t find an agreeable plan, so the issue went to a panel of judges, which offered one map, then another, then was struck down in court, so the whole process started over again in 2012.

The Round 2 bipartisan commission came up with a map – the one in play at the moment – that sent current officeholders, particularly some from St. Louis, into a state of shock and outrage at the very idea that two incumbents might have to run against one another.

That’s just one part of the problem. There are also disputes about the state House map and the U.S. House map, and the Associated Press points out that so far this year there’s been just one week without a new lawsuit, a hearing or a redistricting commission meeting.

Big picture: Census figures have been out for a year, and new districts to reflect the population shifts reflected by those figures could have been – should have been – done by the Fourth of July last year. That’s if the state had a nonpartisan redistricting process – one that pays no heed to where the incumbents live. Other states do it.

As is typical in Jefferson City, we get a half-hearted half-measure as a proposed reform. There’s a bill to open up the redistricting commission meetings, so the public’s business could be done in public. That’s a no-brainer, and it would be progress, but really won’t solve the underlying problem – political parties looking to cut a deal and create few truly competitive districts.

“Bipartisan” sounds nice, and it’s great when it works. But in this case, it means hyperpartisan, and that is not serving the citizens well. We get gerrymandering, and we get self-interest ahead of public interest. We can demand better.