JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Democratic Party is opposing a proposed amendment that would change impeachment procedures in the state.
The proposed constitutional amendment, introduced by Sen. Ed Emery (R-Lamar), would require all impeachments to be tried by the Senate rather than before the Missouri Supreme Court.
The House of Representatives has the power to introduce articles of impeachment.
“When the governor or lieutenant governor is being tried, the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court shall preside,” the proposed amendment states. “No judge shall be convicted without a two-thirds vote of all Senators elected and no statewide elected official shall be convicted without a three-fourths vote of all Senators elected.”
Lauren Gepford, executive director for the Missouri Democratic Party, said the changes are unnecessary.
“Rather than focusing on real challenges facing Missouri families, Missouri Republicans are focusing on solutions in search of a problem, such as this,” Gepford told the St. Louis Record.
Gepford said the changes would have an effect in cases such as what happened to former Gov. Eric Greitens in 2018. Greitens, who resigned after facing possible impeachment, was charged with taking a photo of a naked woman without her permission and accused of stealing donor lists from a charity.
“Most Missourians would likely be surprised to learn that the Republicans in the General Assembly think that it should be harder to impeach a governor such as Eric Greitens,” Gepford said. “In fact, the changes they are proposing would have stopped that impeachment effort from even getting off the ground.”
The state constitution states that “all elective executive officials of the state and judges of the Supreme Court, courts of appeals and circuit courts shall be liable to impeachment for crimes, misconduct, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or corruption or crime in office.”
Emery said last week he was hopeful of the bill's passage.
“This legislation is a waste of time and energy when both are in short supply,” Gepford said.