Special-elections bill passes another hurdle, some Democrats oppose measure

Jan 17, 2013
Originally published on January 16, 2013 6:39 pm

Legislation to require special elections in Missouri to fill vacancies in statewide offices has cleared another hurdle.

The bill today easily passed the House Rules Committee and is expected to be debated on the floor of the House next week.  If passed, House Bill 110 would only allow the governor to appoint a temporary placeholder if a statewide office is vacated, and that person would be ineligible to run in the special election to fill the vacancy.  State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart) sits on the Rules Committee and cast one of the few “no” votes.

“The people of Missouri voted Jay Nixon into office twice as Governor," Roorda said.  "I think we should entrust the governor to manage those vacancies in the executive branch and worry about the legislative branch ourselves.”

Governor Nixon vetoed a similar bill two years ago, saying special elections would cost the state too much money.  House Speaker Pro-tem Jason Smith (R, Salem) says his renewed bill would address that concern by scheduling special elections in November to coincide with other races.  The bill is being fast-tracked because of a potential vacancy -- Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is one of several Republicans hoping to replace southeast Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R), who's leaving office next month.  Smith is also hoping to succeed Emerson.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2013 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.