The Missouri House on May 5 passed SB 892 on a largely party line vote. The legislation would shift the date of the presidential primary in the Show Me state from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February to the first Tuesday after the second Tuesday in March.
Monday was a busy day for SB 892. The bill first received the "Do Pass" clearance from the state House Fiscal Review Committee and subsequently passed both a procedural vote that saw no amendments added and then a final vote.1 The latter saw a near-unified Republican majority in the chamber vote in favor of the move while all but two in the House Democratic caucus voted against the measure. Just three Republicans voted down the move in a 101-47 final tally. The bill then moved back to its chamber of origin -- the state Senate -- where it was ordered enrolled.
The next stop for SB 892 is the governor's desk.
Unlike 2011, when similar legislation was passed and vetoed, this is a clean bill that only shifts the date of the presidential primary. The reason Governor Nixon vetoed the 2011 legislation was that it also included provisions that would have curbed gubernatorial power in the area of appointments to fill vacancies to statewide offices. Without that, Nixon is very likely to sign something -- moving the primary into compliance with national party rules -- that he supported in 2011. His support for moving the primary back was the reason he included it in his call for a special session that year. That special session devolved into several inter-chamber disputes one of which derailed the effort to shift the presidential primary back.
Should Governor Nixon sign SB 892, it would be a big win for the national parties. It would clear a major obstacle to the calendars for which both parties appear to be aiming.
1 Much of this was a formality. The House had previously passed its own version of this bill with the exact same language (HB 1902). It was virtually a given, then, that the Senate version would sail through the House. It did with no problems.
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