The Missouri Senate has unanimously passed legislation to move the filing period for the state’s party primaries back by one month.
The bill is moving rapidly because the filing period is currently set to begin February 28th and end March 27th, and because of the lack of new State House and Senate district maps. The Missouri Supreme Court tossed out the Senate map, which now has to be redrawn, and a legal challenge to the new House map is also being appealed to the High Court. Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says those facts alone make it necessary to push back the filing period.
“If we didn’t get this bill up and passed this week, we would have further time problems," Mayer said. "(I) certainly urge the House leadership and the body over there to take this bill up and pass it.”
Some Senators fear that the Missouri House will sit on the bill and let the filing period begin on February 28th as currently scheduled. Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) went so far as to call any House member who tries to block the bill a "coward." But Senate Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles), and the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Mike Parson (R, Bolivar), don’t think that will happen.
“What I am hearing from the House is that they are willing to move the bill," Dempsey said. Parson confirmed, “They are making an attempt to move the bill.”
House leaders have scheduled a technical session Friday morning so the bill can be fast-tracked next week. If it becomes law, the filing period for candidates for Congress, State House and Senate seats, and statewide offices, including the Governor's, would begin March 27th and end on April 24th.