Thursday, January 17, 2013

Elections Legislation

House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith’s legislation to give the people a voice in filling statewide office vacancies is one step closer to House approval. Smith’s legislation, HB 110, was approved by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 11-1 by the House Elections Committee on Tuesday, January 15th.  The bill is the first legislation to receive committee approval in the House this session and is one that is truly for and by the people and gives them the biggest voice in their state government.
Why Does It Matter?

The legislation is designed to clear up uncertainties that exist in our Constitution and the current statutes.  These discrepancies have led to two schools of thought.  One, which Governor Nixon has sided with, believes that no matter when a vacancy occurs the Governor can fill that vacancy for the remainder of the term (up to four years).  The other line of thinking suggests that an appointment can occur, but the people should be able to elect the position at the next possible juncture.

Smith has filed similar legislation in each of the last several sessions to require special elections to fill vacancies in the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer and United States Senator. Smith’s legislation would allow the Governor to appoint a temporary office holder to fill a vacancy until the next general election is called—preventing any additional cost from being passed on to Missouri taxpayers.

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