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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 14, 2013
From the Office of Representative Jason Smith
150th District CONTACT: Rep. Jason Smith 573-751-1688
Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith’s Special Elections Bill Receives Committee Approval
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – 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 a vote of 11-1 by the House Elections Committee Tuesday. The bill is the first legislation to receive committee approval in the House this session. Smith said the bill is one he has championed for each of the last several years because it represents good government and the right thing to do for the people of Missouri. “The governor is already on record – he believes he has the authority to appoint a successor should the lt. governor’s office have a vacancy,” said Smith, R-Salem. “While there is precedent for the governor making an appointment, it clearly flies in the face of our existing state laws. My legislation will make it crystal clear that the voice of the people will be heard when filling a vacancy for this office and other statewide offices.” 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. The bill also would require the governor to call a special election to fill a statewide vacancy at the same time as a scheduled general election. Smith said the change would prevent any additional cost from being passed on to Missouri taxpayers. “It’s outrageous that the will of the people could be denied in filling a statewide office,” said Smith. “My legislation is structured to give the people a say, and to do it without creating a financial burden for Missouri taxpayers. I’m hopeful we can move this common sense change into law this session.”
Smith said he believes that bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate give the bill its best chance yet to become law. The bill now moves to the House Rules committee for approval. Smith anticipates the Rules committee will approve the bill this week and that it will reach the House floor for discussion next week. The bill contains an emergency clause that would put into effect as law upon being signed by the governor. -###-