Law and government of Missouri

Law and government of Missouri

The government of the U.S. state of Missouri is organized into the state government and local government, including county government, and city and municipal government.

Missouri Government
Governor of Missouri Jay Nixon (D)
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri: Peter Kinder (R)
Missouri Attorney General: Chris Koster (D)
Missouri Secretary of State: Robin Carnahan (D)
Missouri State Auditor: Tom Schweich (R)
Missouri State Treasurer: Clint Zweifel (D)
Senior United States Senator: Claire McCaskill (D)
Junior United States Senator: Roy Blunt (R)


State government


The fourth and current Constitution of Missouri, the state constitution, was adopted in 1945. It provides for three branches of government: The legislative, executive, and judicial.

Legislative branch

The legislative branch consists of the state legislature, which is the Missouri General Assembly. Like 49 of the other 50 states, it is bicameral & comprises a 163-member House of Representatives (the lower house) and a 34-member Senate. Members of both houses are subject to term limits: Senators are limited to two terms, Representatives to four, and a total of eight years for members of both houses. The state constitution provides that "The general assembly shall meet on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January following each general election. The general assembly may provide by law for the introduction of bills during the period between the first day of December and the first Wednesday after the first Monday of January. ..The general assembly shall reconvene on the first Wednesday after the first Monday of January after adjournment at midnight on May thirtieth of the preceding year." As a part-time legislature, compensation is low, and most senators and representatives hold jobs outside their legislative duties. State legislators are paid $31,351 per legislative year. The General Assembly meets at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Executive branch

The executive branch is laid out in Article IV of the state constitution. It is headed by the governor of Missouri. The governor is charged with executing the laws of the state. The governor is elected a four-year term and can serve two terms. He or she must be at least 30 years of age, a Missouri resident for at least 10 years, and a U.S. citizen for at least 15 years before holding office. There is also a lieutenant governor, the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri, required to have the same qualifications as the governor, who is an ex officio president of the state Senate. The lieutenant governor is allowed to debate any and all questions before the Senate as a whole and may cast the deciding ballot in case of a tie. Additionally, the lieutenant governor assumes the office of governor in case of the governor's death, resignation, or incapacitation. Missouri voters also elect the heads of several executive departments: the Missouri Attorney General (the state attorney general), Missouri Secretary of State (the state secretary of state), State Treasurer of Missouri (the state treasurer), and the State Auditor of Missouri (the state auditor). The requirements for holding these offices are the same as those for the governor, but only the State Treasurer has term limits similar to the governor.

Judicial branch

The judicial branch (the state courts) is established by Article V of the Missouri Constitution. The state supreme court is the Supreme Court of Missouri - it is the highest court. The Missouri Court of Appeals is the state intermediate appellate court. It is split into three districts: Western (based in Kansas City), Eastern (based in St. Louis), and Southern (based in Springfield). The state trial courts of general jurisdiction are the 45 Missouri Circuit Courts and Associate Circuit Courts within each Circuit Court.

Seven judges sit on the Supreme Court of Missouri, which meets in the state capital, Jefferson City. Unlike the life tenure appointments of federal judges (including the Supreme Court of the United States), state supreme court judges hold the judicial bench for 12 years, as do judges of the Court of Appeals. Circuit Court judges have terms of six years and Associate Circuit Court judges have terms of four years. There are no term limits for judges, though there is a mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

Missouri pioneered a unique way of selecting judges for its state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals in an effort to remove some of the partisan politics from the selection process. Article V, Section 25(a) of the Missouri Constitution specifies a process, known as the Missouri Plan, to appoint judges to the state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and circuit and probate courts in the independent City of St. Louis, Jackson County (Kansas City), and any other circuit court where a majority of voters choose to adopt nonpartisan appointment (currently St. Louis County, Clay County, and Platte County). When a position becomes available in one of the above courts, a nonpartisan judicial nominating commission reviews applications, interviews candidates, and submits three nominees to the Governor. The Governor then appoints one of the three nominees to fill the vacant position. Finally, in the first general election one year or more after the appointment, the judge must be retained by the voters in a retention election before serving a full-term. Judges for all other courts are elected directly by the voters.

County and city government

Counties with more than 85,000 people may elect their own charters, smaller ones must use the standard charter dictated by the state.

Missouri allows cities to adopt their own charter should they chose to do so; it was the first state in the union to do so. Regardless of the freedom given to city governments, most municipalities choose to organize their local government around a mayor and a city council. Council members are typically elected in either city wide or district elections.

Political parties

Like the rest of the nation, the two dominant parties in Missouri are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party (whose state affiliates are the Missouri Democratic Party and the Missouri Republican Party, respectively). The state secretary of state also recognizes the Libertarian Party as an organized party, although only five Libertarians currently hold elected office in Missouri.[citation needed]

The Democratic and Republican parties have been responsible for establishing the voting districts, casting votes in the Electoral College, and fielding candidates for the general elections and help determining legislative policy and priorities.

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Law and government of Colorado — The Colorado State Capitol in Denver Main article: State of Colorado The Constitution of the State of Colorado provides for three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches …   Wikipedia

  • List of University of Michigan law and government alumni — The parent article is at List of University of Michigan alumni This is a partial list of notable alumni in law, government and public policy from the University of Michigan. Please refer also to the below list:Legislators*Donald M. Baker, (BA, MA …   Wikipedia

  • Missouri — This article is about the U.S. state of Missouri. For the river, see Missouri River. For other uses, see Missouri (disambiguation). State of Missouri …   Wikipedia

  • Missouri Constitution — The Missouri Constitution is the state constitution of the U.S. State of Missouri. It is the supreme law formulating the law and government of Missouri, subject only to the federal Constitution. The fourth and current Missouri Constitution was… …   Wikipedia

  • Missouri Mountain — Elevation 14,074 ft (4,290 m) NAV …   Wikipedia

  • Missouri in the American Civil War — Confederate States in the American Civil War South Carolina Mississippi Florida Alabama Georgia Louisiana Texas Virginia Arkansas North Carolina …   Wikipedia

  • Government of South Dakota — This article is about the government and politics of the U.S. state of South Dakota Contents 1 Law and government 2 Federal representation 3 Politics 3.1 Politica …   Wikipedia

  • Missouri — • The State of Missouri was carved out of the Louisiana Territory, and derives its name from the principal river flowing through its center Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Missouri     Missouri …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Missouri v. Holland — Supreme Court of the United States Argued February 29, 1918 Decided March 6, 1920 …   Wikipedia

  • Missouri School of Journalism — Location Columbia, Missouri, United States Information …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.