Ten Missouri residents filing suit against Governor Nixon for not scheduling special elections to fill vacant seats in the legislature were in Cole County Court today, but counsel from the Attorney General’s office was not, forcing Judge Dan Green to postpone the hearing.
An attorney for the plaintiffs said he’s considering going straight to the appeals court if Nixon and the Attorney General’s Office can’t bother to show up for court. However, Judge Green says no one was present when this case was initially called, but later in the docket, contact was made with the attorneys of record and the following docket entry was entered: Petitioner’s counsel to prepare Proposed Scheduling Order; Motion to Expedite Proceedings sustained.
Currently vacant seats include the 120th House District, which was left open when Republican Rep. Jason Smith was voted into Southeast Missouri’s Congressional seat, formerly held by Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson. Emerson retired early in 2013 to work for the private sector.
Rep. Steve Webb (D-Florissant) from the 67th House District faces possible criminal charges for mishandling campaign donations and recently resigned. Rep. Dennis Fowler (R-Advance) left an open seat in the 151st District when Gov. Nixon appointed him to the state parole board. State Senator Ryan McKenna (D-Crystal City) was appointed to the head of the Department of Labor by Nixon and resigned his seat in the 22nd Senate District.
The plaintiffs say those four seats account for more than 300,000 Missourians who are without representation.
“Clearly, it’s about much more than vacancies in legislative offices — it’s about the rule of law and whether anyone is above that rule of law,” Calzone said.
AUDIO: Roland talks to press via speaker phone after case is dismissed in court (9:28)