For the second time in a week, a state legislator has made good on an intent to file an article of impeachment against Governor Jay Nixon (D).
Representative Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) says he is seeking to impeach Governor Nixon for the amount of time that Nixon took to set a date for special elections to fill three vacant House seats, and for not yet setting a date to fill the vacant seat in the Senate left when Ryan McKenna (D) was appointed to become to the director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
“It’s the delay,” says Moon. “In the statute it states that the writ of election should be done without delay, so that’s what I’m calling into question.”
On January 31, Nixon announced he has set August 5 as the date for elections to fill House seats representing areas including in St. Louis County left vacant by the resignation of Representative Steve Webb (D) on December 2 while facing campaign finance violations, in Crawford and Phelps Counties left vacant when Representative Jason Smith (R) resigned June 4 after being elected to represent Missouri’s 8th Congressional District and in Stoddard County and part of Scott County left vacant when Representative Dennis Fowler (R) was appointed by Nixon in December to the Board of Probation and Parole.
McKenna was appointed as Labor Director December 13 and no date has been set for an election to fill his seat in the Senate.
Moon’s impeachment filing is HR 476.
Republican lawmakers have noted that Fowler’s appointment reduced the Republican House majority to 108-52 over Democrats, leaving them one Republican short of the two-thirds majority required to override a governor’s veto. McKenna was a member of a Democrat minority in the Senate.
Before Nixon set the August 5 elections, 10 Missourians filed a lawsuit against him alleging he was taking too long in acting.
Last week Representative Nick Marshall (R-Parkville) filed two articles of impeachment against Nixon for the executive order he issued in November that ordered the Missouri Department of Revenue to accept joint tax returns filed by same-sex couples who are legally married in other states. Marshall alleges that order violates the state Constitution, which voters amended in 2004 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Marshall’s impeachment filing has not been referred to a committee, and House Speaker Tim Jones has not said whether it will be, only saying that the claims of Moon and Marshall are the subject of careful review.
Moon stresses that an impeachment is not a conviction.
“It’s only bringing in the question so that there can be due process,” he tells Missourinet. “I swore and oath to defend the Constitution of Missouri. Because of that oath and the checks and balances that are in place to have the legislative body check the executive and the judicial branch and they to check us as well, if I find that there is a violation or a suspected violation of the Constitution, it’s my duty to call into question that particular violation.”
Articles of impeachment move through the legislative process in the House similarly to the way a bill would. They would have to be first referred to a committee. If the the articles are passed in the House, Nixon would be tried by a commission of seven eminent jurists elected by the Senate.
Governor Nixon today dismissed the filing of impeachment articles against him as a, “publicity stunt.”