Peter Kinder remains Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor.  But the possibility earlier this year that he would not has led to a possible new law.

Some people started reading the state laws when the possibility arose that Kinder might be elected the new congressman from southeast Missouri, leading to his resignation from his present job.  The last time a Lieutenant Governor vacated the office was when Roger Wilson became Governor upon the death of Governor Carnahan. He appointed state senator Joe Maxwell to finish his Lieutenant Governor term.  Current thinking is that the appointment was not legal because state law specifically exempts a Lieutenant Governor vacancy from being filled by gubernatorial appointment. 

(105.030. Whenever any vacancy, casued in any manner or by any means whatsoever, occurs or exists in any state or county office originally filled by election of the people, other than the offices of lieutenant governor, state senator or state representative, sheriff, or recorder of deeds in the city of St. Louis, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor.)

The legislature has sent Governor Nixon a proposed law with Senator Kurt Schaefer’s plan in it to fill the office at the next general election.  The Senate President pro Tem would handle duties the Lieutenant Governor has as the presiding officer of the senate.  The departed Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff would handle office administrative duties.  Seats on boards and commissions would remain vacant until after the election.

A suggestion that a special election be called that could fill the vacancy faster has been rejected. Opponents say it’s not necessary to spend seven million dollars on a special election. 

AUDIO: Debate excerpt