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(Jefferson City) (AP) – The Missouri Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the constitutionality of new state House districts – at least for now. The high court was asked in a lawsuit to block a new map for the 163-member House from being used in this year’s elections.

The plaintiffs contend the new map violates requirements that districts have similar populations and be contiguous and compact. They asked the Supreme Court to consider the case without having it argued first in a trial court.

The Supreme Court declined Thursday, saying the case involved disputed issues of fact. The order allows the legal challenge to be filed in a state trial court and – if that occurs – instructs a judge to decide quickly.

Candidates start filing for office February 28.

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