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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rep. Jason Smith's Capitol Report

  • This week Jason gave members the oath of office and passed a special elections bill out of committee.
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  • This week Jason gave members the oath of office and passed a special elections bill out of committee.
     
    Re-Affirming support of our State and National Constitution
    It was my immense honor to administer the Oath of Office to the members of the Missouri House this week. We originally recited the oath last week during our opening day ceremonies, but the judge who led us in swearing the oath made a small, but very important, mistake in the words he asked us to recite.
    Rather than making a pledge to support our Missouri and United States Constitutions, members were asked to support and uphold government. It’s a mistake that my colleagues and I were eager to correct as we want to make it clear – we are here to serve the will of the people and the Constitution –not to cater to the whims of a bloated governmental bureaucracy.
    While the oath was ceremonial in nature only, that doesn’t diminish the importance of publicly declaring our support for this vital document that has served as the foundation of this great nation. Too often we see a federal government that has forgotten the importance of our Constitution. That’s not an oversight we will make in the state legislature.
    This week also marked the inaugural ceremonies for our statewide officers. Despite the frigid temperatures, a large number of residents from the district made the trip to Jefferson City to participate in the festivities. Thank you to everyone who stopped by my office to offer their support and encouragement. It was a welcome sight to have so many folks from home at the state Capitol.
    Reining in the power of the governor to make appointments to Statewide Office
    We also took a significant step forward this week with the passage of HB 110 out of committee. This bill reforms gubernatorial appointments so that the people have the power when it comes to deciding who will fill a vacancy in our statewide offices.
    Our current system is one that excludes regular people from the process. Based on precedent and not law, the governor has been allowed to appoint individuals to fill vacancies when state statute seems to call for a special election. My legislation simply clarifies our law to say the governor can appoint statewide vacancies on a temporary basis only. His appointment would serve as a placeholder until a general election is held to allow the people to elect the new statewide officeholder.
    My legislation will make it crystal clear that the voice of the people will be heard when filling a vacancy for statewide offices such as secretary of state, attorney general, lieutenant governor, state auditor, state treasurer and United States Senator. It’s also important to point out that any special election called to fill a statewide vacancy would have to coincide with a scheduled general election. It’s a change that would give the people a say in the process without creating a financial burden for Missouri taxpayers.
    Page 2 of 2 - HB 110 received strong bipartisan approval in the House Elections Committee. This support is an encouraging sign for how the bill will fare in the weeks to come.
     We expect to take the bill up and pass it out of the House next week. From there it will start the process over in the Senate. We hope to have the bill through the General Assembly and to the governor’s desk to be signed into law in the coming weeks.
     As always, should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at my office at 573-751-1688, or e-mail me at Jason.smith@house.mo.gov.

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