Nixon to add election bill to special session

Sunday, July 24, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday he is adding legislation delaying Missouri's presidential primary to the agenda for a planned special session to be focused largely on economic development issues.

Nixon said last week he would order state lawmakers back to the state Capitol in September to overhaul Missouri's business incentives. On top of that, he wants state lawmakers to approve legislation that pushes back next year's presidential primary election from Feb. 7 to March 6. The later date is needed to comply with rules set by the national Democratic and Republican parties.

During the regular legislative session, lawmakers approved an elections bill that delayed the presidential primary. However, Nixon vetoed it, citing concerns with two other parts of the legislation.

One of those pieces would have required special elections to fill vacancies for many statewide elected offices instead of allowing the governor to appoint someone to serve out the term. The other dealt with local elections, and Nixon said it could have cancelled elections and prevented write-in candidates for local offices in more than 900 communities with a population of less than 35,000 if the number of candidates equaled the number of positions to be filled.

Nixon said he has supported moving back the presidential primary.

"I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly during the special session to pass narrow, bipartisan legislation to make this important change," Nixon said.

Immediately after the legislation was vetoed this month, the Missouri Republican Party called the move "reckless" and criticized Nixon for not raising his concerns sooner. A Republican Party spokesman declined to comment Friday about the governor's plan to include the presidential primary in a special session.

This week, legislative leaders outlined an economic development proposal, and Nixon highlighted his priorities during speeches in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The plan generally would offer new business incentives while shrinking existing state tax credits to help pay for it. It would include up to $360 million in tax breaks for a possible international cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and incentives for science and technology companies, computer-based data storage centers and amateur sporting events.

Lawmakers also have proposed limiting a state income tax credit for low-income seniors and disabled residents to people who own their own homes while excluding renters and lowering a cap on the tax credits available for renovating historic buildings from $140 million to $90 million.

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