Missouri bill seeks nonpartisan judicial elections

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | 7:12 a.m. CST; updated 10:11 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 15, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — A state senator is proposing legislation that would gradually get rid of partisan elections of Missouri trial judges.

A bill by Republican Sen. Kevin Engler of Farmington would make the switch to nonpartisan elections for circuit judges and associate circuit judges beginning in 2012.

But it would create an exception for incumbents. For judges elected before 2012, their future elections would continue to be held on a partisan basis until they are no longer on the ballot.

Partisan judicial elections currently are held in most Missouri counties, except those in the largest metropolitan areas, where judges are appointed on a nonpartisan basis and face up-or-down retention votes.

Engler's bill drew support Monday during a Senate committee hearing from the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.


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