Government
9:53 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Bill Would Require Election To Fill Vacancies

A Missouri House committee has overwhelmingly passed legislation that would require special elections to fill vacancies in statewide offices.

The bill would require special elections if the office of Lt. Governor or any other statewide office is suddenly vacated.  It would allow the Governor to only appoint a placeholder who would temporarily fill the office but not be eligible to run in the special election.  It’s sponsored by House Speaker Pro-tem Jason Smith.

“The statute provides that whoever is placed as the temporary placeholder cannot run in the following election, so they would have to stand out at least two years,” says Smith

The bill is being pushed largely because of a potential vacancy in the Lt. Governor’s office – Peter Kinder is one of several Republicans seeking to replace southeast Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.  That’s one of the reasons why Democrat Stacey Newman of St. Louis County voted “no.”

“That potential has been there for some time, and I think if that wasn’t part of the discussion we wouldn’t be pushing this so fast.”

St. Louis County Democrat Stacey Newman cast the lone “no” vote, saying Republicans would not be pushing for a placeholder if the current governor were also a Republican. 

The bill could go before the full House as early as next week.