Gov. Mike Parson says he’s not a fan of the lieutenant governor’s seat sitting empty. The Republican, who has been freshly sworn into office as Missouri’s head of state, says he’s considering whether to call a special session to pass legislation that would allow the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor when the second-in-command’s seat unexpectedly opens up.
“I do believe that there is some validity in appointing a lieutenant governor of the state of Missouri,” Parson says after being sworn into office on Friday. “It needs to be cleared up. We would have liked to have gotten that done this year in the legislative process. We are going to look into that further.
The Missouri Constitution has a line of succession when the state does not have a governor but there’s no clear path when the lieutenant governor’s seat is empty. Some other states allow the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor in the case of a sudden opening.
“I think it is important for the state of Missouri to have a lieutenant governor, especially at a time like this to be able to help with the Governor’s Office and to be able to work together for the betterment of the state of Missouri,” Parson says. “I think that’s an important position and I think it will become a much more important position.”
Parson replaces fellow Republican Eric Greitens, who resigned on Friday after a flurry of accusations against the political newcomer.
Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, proposed a measure this year that would have allowed the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor. The proposal failed to make it to the governor’s desk. Schaaf, who is serving his final year in the legislature, tells Missourinet resolving the issue before the term ends in 2020 is not necessary.
“There’s really no need. It’s just not that critical that the Office of Lieutenant Governor be filled. It doesn’t really matter because if the lieutenant governor spot is empty and something happens to the governor, there’s an order of succession in the Constitution that would kick in. So, it’s not like we’d be without a governor,” says Schaaf.
If Parson decides to call a special session to address the glitch, the cost of an extraordinary session would be thousands of dollars.
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