Missouri House tries to Straighten Out Presidential Primary as It Passes 1st Bill, With “Kinder Clause”
January 24, 2013



The Missouri House has passed an elections bill aimed at straightening out the confusing process surrounding the Missouri Presidential primary system.
The Associated Press reports the plan, to move the state’s Presidential primary back from February into March, is aimed at making the state more relevant in the 2016 nominating contest.
The February/March Missouri 2012 primary and caucuses were confusing and unsatisfactory to many participants, especially in the then-contested GOP primary campaign
“The national Republican Party had warned that states holding their contests too early would lose half their delegates to the party’s national convention – a penalty intended to avoid a scramble among states to be near the front of the presidential nominating line. Missouri lawmakers sought to comply and delay the primary, but a bill that included the change was vetoed by Nixon for unrelated reasons. A second effort then bogged down during a contentious 2011 special legislative session.
Seeking to avoid the penalties, the Missouri Republican Central Committee opted to make the primary nonbinding and instead hold spring caucuses to allot delegates. However, state law still required the primary to be held. The nonbinding primary attracted few voters and was won by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
The report says The election legislation, approved 115-45, was the first bill passed by a House chamber that now is controlled by a Republican supermajority. The bill now goes to the state Senate, where Republicans also hold a two-thirds majority.
The main thrust of the measure, however, does not deal with the state’s primary system.
Instead, it focuses on the gubernatorial powers to replace a member of the Executive Branch. It is being driven by the potential that GOP Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder could be selected as the Republican nominee for the southeast Missouri (Mo-8) Congressional seat. Jo Ann Emerson retired earlier this week to become a lobbyist.
Under the bill, the governor could appoint an acting officeholder to fill a midterm vacancy as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, auditor or U.S. senator. The office then would appear on the statewide ballot during the next general election. Supporters said the bill would prohibit the acting officeholder from immediately running for that position to mitigate the advantages of incumbency.
Missouri law currently allows the governor to appoint a replacement as secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, auditor or U.S. senator. But there has been uncertainty about how to fill an opening for lieutenant governor. Clarifying that process has gained new importance with newly re-elected Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder among the candidates competing for the GOP nomination to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who resigned from Congress on Tuesday.
If Kinder wins the southeastern Missouri congressional seat, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has claimed the authority to appoint a replacement while citing history. House Speaker Tim Jones has said he believes a special election is required. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey has called the situation “unclear” but says he does not believe the governor can appoint the lieutenant governor.
The elections legislation is sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith, who also is seeking Emerson’s seat in Congress. Smith, R-Salem, has sponsored similar legislation previously and said that requiring the election of statewide officials would “give the power back to the people of Missouri.”

Kinder Loses Another Round in Health Care Court Battle
October 5, 2012

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has lost another round in his legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, known to some as Obamacare.
KC Star:
A three-judge federal appeals court panel Thursday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit Kinder and several others filed seeking to overturn the health care law.
The 8th Circuit Court judges said Kinder lacked standing to pursue the lawsuit because the health care law posed no immediate threat to his legally protected interests. Because of that finding, the court said, it did not need to address the constitutional challenges to the law.
Kinder, a Republican, filed the lawsuit as an individual, not in his official capacity as a state official. He has repeatedly promoted his legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act in his re-election campaign.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the health care reform law earlier this year.

Read more here: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/kinder-loses-round-in-legal-challenge-to-health-care-act/#storylink=cpy

Koster Won’t Appeal Ruling on Revised Health Exchange Language
August 31, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said Thursday he won’t appeal a judge’s decision to rewrite the summary voters will see for a health insurance ballot measure, calling the judge’s revised version a truer reflection of state lawmakers’ intent.
Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan had asked the attorney general to challenge a court ruling that her summary was unfair and insufficient. Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green on Tuesday ordered the use of a revised summary after Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and legislative leaders filed a lawsuit challenging Carnahan’s version.
Carnahan’s office said the new summary is “incomplete, uninformative and a disservice to Missouri voters.”
“Although we strongly disagree with the decision by the Cole County Circuit Court, this office is not in a position to appeal the decision on its own,” Carnahan’s office said in a statement Thursday. “We are disappointed that Attorney General Koster has refused our request to file an appeal.”
But Koster said in a statement Thursday evening that the judge’s summary “more accurately reflects the legislative intent than does the Secretary’s proposed language.”
“My job is to call balls and strikes in an impartial manner. The argument is over,” said Koster, a Democrat.
The proposal, approved by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature and referred to the Nov. 6 ballot, would bar state officials from creating a health insurance exchange without approval from the public or the Legislature. It also would prohibit state departments from taking federal money to set up the online marketplace intended to allow consumers to shop for and compare health insurance plans.
The federal health care law requires states to create health insurance exchanges by 2014 or the federal government will run one for them.
The ballot summary will state: “Shall Missouri law be amended to prohibit the Governor or any state agency, from establishing or operating state based health insurance exchanges unless authorized by a vote of the people or by the Legislature?”
Carnahan’s summary had said: “Shall Missouri law be amended to deny individuals, families, and small businesses the ability to access affordable health care plans through a state-based health benefit exchange unless authorized by statute, initiative or referendum or through an exchange operated by the federal government as required by the federal health care act?”
Kinder said the revision is a “tremendous win” for Missouri voters.
“Secretary Carnahan’s ballot summary would have unduly influenced voters to oppose this crucial ballot issue affecting health care rights,” the lieutenant governor said. “I am pleased that her attempt to mislead voters failed and that Missourians now will have a fair and balanced summary when they consider this important ballot issue in November.”

Judge Considers Case Over Missouri Health Exchange Ballot Question
August 28, 2012

(AP) – A Missouri judge was considering Tuesday whether the Democratic secretary of state’s summary of a health care measure passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and appearing on the November ballot accurately and fairly informs voters about the proposal.

The measure would bar Missouri officials from creating a health insurance exchange without approval from voters or the Legislature. It also would prohibit state departments from taking federal money to set up the online marketplace intended to allow consumers to shop for and compare health insurance plans. The federal health care law requires states create health insurance exchanges by 2014 or the federal government will run one for them.

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and several Republican legislative leaders contend the ballot summary written by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is unfair and misleading and filed a lawsuit asking for a new version. Carnahan’s office defends its summary.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green did not immediately rule Tuesday after a hearing that continued for more than an hour. Green seemed to express at least some skepticism about the defense of the current version.

TRO Now Blocking Health Exchange Ballot Language in Missouri
August 22, 2012

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan will have to wait a little longer before she can lock-in the wording of a controversial ballot issue set for November. A Cole County Judge Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against the secretary of state over the ballot language of an issue on health insurance exchanges. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder says the word used by Carnahan unduly influence voters to vote against the measure. The ballot question seeks to stop the implementation of health insurance exchanges unless first ratified by the state legislature or a vote of the people. The exchanges are a pivotal part of the nationwide health care plan drawn up by the Obama administration. The judge will hold a complete hearing on the case on August 28th.