Thursday, March 13, 2014

Missouri House Passes Bill to Move Presidential Primary to March

During its morning session today, the Missouri House of Representatives passed the committee substitute to HB 1902. After clearing a procedural hurdle Tuesday -- with no additional amendments tacked on -- and receiving a thumbs up from the Committee on Fiscal Review today, the legislation was brought to the floor and passed by an announced margin of 97-48 along party lines in the chamber.

The bill, which would shift the Show Me state presidential primary from February to March, now moves to the Senate where a similar piece of legislation -- SB 892 -- is still in committee. It should be noted that both bills initially called for moving the date of the Missouri presidential primary from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April. The state Senate bill is still in that form. The state House bill is not. At the committee stage, that April date was revised to the first Tuesday after the second Monday in March.

That would be March 15 during the 2016 cycle. That is also the first date on which states may hold true winner-take-all contests under the Republican delegate selection rules. The change from April to March was presumably made to line the Missouri primary -- a traditionally winner-take-all contest -- with the change in the Republican rules shifting the proportionality window into March. It remains to be seen whether the Missouri Senate will act on its own bill or shunt it to the side to deal with the House bill.

As FHQ has described, inter-chamber disputes have derailed similar presidential primary moves in the past.

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