Despite the uncertainty on what the finalized version of the new state legislative maps will be, a slate of candidates for the three newly formed Lake Area house districts have officially announced their intent to run for office.
Last Tuesday, the first day candidates for the August 7 Primary could legally file with the Secretary of State's Office, three Lake Area residents traveled to Jefferson City to officially declare their candidacy for the new 124th District and two each declared their candidacy for the 123rd and 58th House Districts.
Every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, congressional as well as state senate and house district maps are redrawn to reflect shifts in population. Since the maps were redrawn last year, several lawsuits have been filed over whether or not the new maps accurately reflect the state's current population or whether the Republicans in charge of redrawing the maps used the opportunity to give themselves a political advantage in upcoming elections.
Although the courts have ruled on some of those lawsuits, one filed by a bipartisan group challenging the newly redrawn Missouri House of Representative maps is still waiting a decision by the state's Supreme Court justices.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs, headed by attorney Paul Wilson, claims the new maps of the 163 district Missouri House of Representative is a violation of the state constitutional requirements for drawing the maps.
The suit alleges the special of six appellate judges who created the maps violated Missouri's Sunshine Law (Open Meetings Act) by not providing public notice before all their meetings on the redistricting issue and by holding private discussions on how the issue.
Last month the state senate passed a bill that would have delayed the beginning of the filing period for individuals who wished to declare their candidacy in the upcoming elections to give the court time to make a decision on whether the maps are legal. That original filing time period had been scheduled to begin Feb. 28 and end March 27, and although a bill to postpone those dates by one month had passed both the Senate and the House, when it returned to Senate for final passage that body failed to act on the bill, at all.
Yet despite the uncertainty over what the Supreme Court will eventually decide, most candidates for the Lake Area house seats went ahead and filed their intent to run documentation on Feb. 28 as they had originally planned.
The individuals who have filed, thus far, as candidates in the various House of Representative Districts, which include Miller, Morgan and Camden counties are as follows:
Missouri House of Representative 124th District (Miller County)
Carolyn Loraine, R-Village of Four Seasons
Johnnie Franzeskos, R-Lake Ozark
Rocky Miller, R-Tuscumbia
Missouri House of Representative 123rd District (Camden County)
Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton
Todd Isaac (Ike) Skelton, R-Lebanon
Missouri House of Representatives 58th District (Morgan County)
James E. Bryant, R-Gravois Mills
David Wood, R-Versailles
Anyone else wishing to run for the office of representative to one of the above districts has until 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 27 to declare their candidacy by filing the necessary paperwork with Carnahan's office. According to a spokesman at the Secretary of State's office if the new Missouri State Senate district maps are accepted as currently drawn, Miller and Morgan counties will remain in the state's 6th Senate District, currently represented by Senator Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City and Camden County will be shifted from the 33rd Senate District, currently represented by Senator Chuck Purgason, R-Lebanon, to the 16th Senate District currently represented by Senator Dan Brown R-Rolla. Neither Kehoe nor Brown is up for re-election this year. The fact that Purgason would no longer represent the Lake Area appears to be of little consequence, in any case, since he will be term limited out of office at the end of this year.
Lawmaker failed to change candidate-filing dates
By Bob Watson, For the News Tribune
State lawmakers failed, last week, to finish the work needed to change the law for this year, so at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28 the month-long period when candidates can file for state and local offices began as scheduled.
State law sets the filing period from 8 a.m. on the last Tuesday of February to 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday of March.
Candidates for county government posts file with the county clerk, but those who want to be judges, lawmakers, members of Congress in either the U.S. House or Senate or statewide office holders must visit the secretary of state's office.
But, thanks to court challenges, the final boundary lines have not been approved for the eight congressional seats, 163 state House seats and 34 state Senate positions.
So lawmakers this month began debating a bill to move the first day of filing back by a month, to start March 27 and end April 24.
Last Thursday, the House voted to modify that plan, pushing the first day of filing back to March 19, and ending it on March 30.
The bill was sent to the Senate - but an hour-long discussion by senators upset with a new map proposed for state Senate districts, scuttled any chance for a Senate vote that would have delayed the first day of filing.
And they didn't even try to resume the debate, when the senators returned to session on Monday, Feb. 27.
"We knew there was opposition to the bill when we brought it up last Thursday," Senate Floor Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, told reporters that Monday evening. "That still exists.
"When we learned that the House had adjourned it (was) not possible to finish" in time to stop the start of filing.
Before a bill can go to the governor to be signed or vetoed, the state Constitution requires the Senate's president pro tem and the House speaker to sign the bill during a public session, attesting to its passage in each chamber.
With the House adjourned adjourned on Feb. 27 - in time for ceremonies placing a bust of Kansas City baseball legend Buck O'Neill in the Hall of Famous Missourians - the bill could not have been sent to Gov. Jay Nixon even if the Senate had passed it.
So candidate filing began last week as originally scheduled.
Dempsey and Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, told reporters they will wait to see if more time is needed at the end of March to accommodate candidates seeking to file in the legislative and congressional districts.
The state Senate districts could be determined by March 9, 15 days after the citizen's commission released its proposed map last week.
The state Supreme Court ruled Jan. 17 that a previous Senate map, drawn by appeals court judges, violated some of the Constitution's requirements.
The high court has not, yet, ruled on the challenge to the congressional districts, after hearing arguments Feb. 16.
And it heard oral arguments in the challenge to the state House districts last Monday afternoon.
The court was scheduled to hand down a ruling at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.