Thursday, January 24, 2013

Elections Legislation Moving Forward

With an overwhelming and bipartisan vote, we supported democracy and efficiency in government this week by supporting Representative Jason Smith’s House Bill 110.  As I wrote in last week’s Capitol Report, House Bill 110 was designed to address a discrepancy in the laws that govern vacancies in political offices.  There were two competing ideas as to what the law provided for: one assumed a political appointment should last the remainder of the term, even if within that time an election could have taken place at no additional cost to the state; the other presumed the appointment should last until the next regularly scheduled statewide election, giving the people a choice in who represents them.  Your Republican leadership has sided with the latter, and with giving the People the ultimate choice, and for the last several legislative sessions, Representative Smith has worked to address this issue.
How was it amended?

There were a few amendments to the legislation that have changed it slightly since the last time I wrote to you about it.  Significant changes include the following:
·    It will require state legislative office vacancies to be filled democratically within 6 months of the departure of the former legislator.
·    It will move Missouri’s Presidential Primary date to March, which will allow this vote to be considered in the primary process.  If you recall, Governor Nixon had formerly vetoed legislation that would have made our last statewide vote actually count in the presidential primary.  The state wasted $7 million on a vote some in the media referred to as a “beauty contest” as a result of Nixon’s actions. 
What’s Next?
The bill has received the votes it needs to move to the Senate for further consideration.  In the Senate, it will be considered in a committee and then move to the Senate floor for full debate.  If the Senate makes changes to the version we have passed, the House will reconsider the legislation before finally sending it to the Governor for his signature or veto.

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