Will the state senate save taxpayers $7 million?
Tue, 04 Oct 2011 02:10:14 GMT — A hot topic over the past week has been how, and when Missouri will nominate a presidential candidate. Last week, after lawmakers failed to move forward with a date change, Missouri republicans said they would not be participating in a presidential primary in February. Instead the state republican committee will use a caucus system to award delegates to presidential candidates. Those caucuses will happen on March 17th. So why use millions of state dollars to have a primary election if it doesn't award delegates? If Missouri holds the primary on that date it will be breaking National Republican Party rules that say Missouri has to wait at least until March to hold its presidential contest or risk losing half its delegates. 23rd District, democratic state representative Stephen Webber said, "Theoretically it could be done in January, realistically it has to be done in special session, the governor included a provision in his call that would allow us to change it and save the state $7 million. It has passed out of the republican House of Representatives and its currently just waiting idle in the republican controlled senate. They can take it up and they can pass it by the end of the week and we can have this whole situation resolved or we can risk possibly trying to do it in January and probably not going to get done." So what if lawmakers change the law to have a primary election later; one that would be binding. Would they use the caucus vote or would the voters actually get a say? 38th district state representative (R) Ryan Silvey said, My understanding is that since the choosing of delegates is a party function, that decision would reside with the state party, my hope would be that we would push the primary to let the voters decide". While Silvey wants the senate to act quickly and pass the bill, he's not about to let republicans take all the blame, "lets remember how we got here, first of all we passed it in regular session then the governor vetoed it, so had the governor signed the bill we wouldn't be at the impasse we are right now. Certainly I wish the senate would pick up and pass the fix hopefully we will be able to accomplish that by the end of the special session." Absentee ballots have to go out six weeks before the election, so if the legislature waits until January it could be too late to save the state from spending nearly $7 million, that's something both sides in house hope to avoid. The senate will be back in session this Thursday.