A Missouri House committee has overwhelmingly passed legislation that would require special elections to fill vacancies in statewide offices.
House Bill 110 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 (R, Salem).
Aside from Medicaid expansion, the most talked-about issue so far during the just-begun Missouri legislative session is whether Governor Jay Nixon (D) has the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor if Peter Kinder succeeds fellow Republican Jo Ann Emerson in Congress.
Following his annual Prayer Breakfast earlier today, Governor Nixon told reporters he believes he has the authority to appoint a new Lt. Governor if the office suddenly becomes vacant.
The Cape Girardeau Republican fended off a challenge from former State Auditor, Democrat Susan Montee. She called Kinder shortly before 11:00 p.m. to concede the race and congratulate Kinder. He celebrated his victory with a small gathering of supporters, about 30 in all, at a hotel in Creve Cour. He credits what he calls "grass-roots" campaigning for his victory this time around.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Republican Lt. Governor has no legal standing to file suit because the Affordable Care Act poses no immediate threat to Kinder’s legally protected interests. He filed suit two years ago as an individual, not in his official capacity as Lt. Governor. The three-judge panel’s ruling did not address the constitutionality of the federal health care law, most of which was upheld last year in a 5-4 ruling by the U-S Supreme Court.
The race for Missouri Lieutenant Governor has remained below the radar so far this political season. Republican incumbent Peter Kinder and Democratic challenger Susan Montee are well-known political names in the state, but their campaigning has been fairly low-key to this point.
Montee appeared as part of a Democratic rally Sunday in mid-Missouri, in front of a full crowd of 300 Democrats.
A House interim committee appointed to examine the state’s response to last year’s flooding and tornadoes held what was supposed to be its final hearing – but it ended early when no one from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) or the Department of Public Safety showed up. Kinder, who chairs the committee, says they will now send a letter to the Nixon Administration asking for written testimony.