Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Missouri House Throws Another March Primary Committee Substitute at Senate

In the ongoing saga that has become the state legislative effort to change the date of the Missouri presidential primary, the Missouri House has developed a seemingly simple strategy: Keep sending March primary bills to the resistant state Senate. First the state House sent its own version of the bill (HB 503) -- changing the presidential primary date from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the first Tuesday after the first Tuesday in March -- to the Senate. The House then returned an amended version of the Senate-passed bill -- one that placed the presidential primary one week after the primary in New Hampshire -- with the same March date change. The Senate failed to concur and the bill -- SB 282 -- went to conference.

Now the House has taken yet another Senate-passed elections bill -- SB 270 -- and tagged it with yet another March presidential primary provision, passed it (albeit not without some resistance) and sent the House committee substitute back to the Senate.1 It appears as if the Republican-controlled Missouri House is attempting to badger the Senate into making the February to March switch against the will of the Republican majority there. All this, of course, is set against the backdrop of the general assembly adjourning for the year on Friday, May 13. Time is running out and the state Senate is seemingly ready to stare down the RNC and its timing rules.

1 Though the St. Louis Beacon report cited says the bill will now go to Governor Nixon (D) for consideration, the House changed the Senate version of the bill and the legislation will have to go back to the chamber of origin for concurrence prior to moving on to the governor.

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