Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pair of Missouri Bills Would Shift Future Presidential Primaries Back to April

If you followed the saga that was the Missouri state government effort to move the Show Me state presidential primary into compliance with national party delegate selection rules last year, you are probably already more than ready to dismiss this and move.1 [FHQ doesn't know that it blames you.] Yet, here the legislature is again -- one year later -- examining a couple of bills that would consolidate the February presidential primary with the April general municipal primaries, moving the former back to coincide with the latter.

Now, the general assembly faced a similar situation during 2011. A bill to consolidate the presidential primary with the congressional primaries in June -- moving the former from February and the latter from August -- was introduced and referred to committee but died there as other bills focused on moving the presidential primary to March took precedence.  Again, as was the case with the 2012 bill in Virginia, the prime motivating factor in introducing these bills -- HB 1962, HB 1981 -- is budgetary (...though sadly there is no information on the fiscal impact for either).2

Of course, no Missouri post would be complete without some sort of legislative roadblock. Even if legislators were/are eager to pass this legislation, they are running out of time in the second of a two session term. The General Assembly is set to adjourn in May and the deadline for bills to have emerged from committee in the chamber opposite the one where it was introduced was April 12 -- the same date that both of these bills were referred to committee. [Granted, this is an appropriations bill of sorts since it deals with a matter that would seemingly reduce the costs of elections. The deadline for those bills to have passed -- as in the next stop is the governor's desk -- is May 11.] The fact that this is the second of two legislative session is important because the bills will not be able to carry over to the next session (not that they can be in Missouri anyway).

In other words, don't expect the Missouri primary to be moved in 2012 with 2016 in mind. It will be 2015 before any of this is likely relevant again. But flag this post and refer back to it when we get there. It may serve as the nexus of another strange journey through the Missouri General Assembly.

1 For more click on the Missouri label and scroll (and scroll) through the backlog of Missouri posts from 2011. It's a long and winding road.

2 Both bills were introduced by Republicans in the Republican-controlled Missouri House. That matters in the future depending on who wins the general election in the fall. If Obama wins reelection, then both parties will have active nomination races in 2016 and Republicans (and Democrats) in the legislature may be motivated to do something about the scheduling of the presidential primary (depending on the rules and penalties from the national parties). However, if Romney wins in November and the Missouri legislature remains in Republican control, then nothing may happen with the primary. Republicans won't necessarily be motivated to tinker with the date of the presidential primary if they don't have a dog in the fight.

Recent Posts:
House-Passed Bill in Virginia to Consolidate Primaries in Presidential Election Years to Be Considered in 2013 in State Senate

Race to 1144: Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Primary

A Few Notes on the RNC Meeting and the 2016 Rules

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