House Committee hears bill to eliminate non-partisan plan.
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House Committee hears bill to eliminate non-partisan plan.

Date: February 14, 2012
By: Paige Hornor
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HJR 44 HJR 77

Intro: 
Two bills were introduced to the House Judicial Committee that would eliminate the 70-year-old plan of selecting judges.
RunTime:  0:42
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The plan calls to end the non-partisan court plan.

Republican Representative Stanley Cox proposed a bill that requires circuit and appellate court judges to be appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate.

The selection process, including all votes and hearings, would be completely open to the public.

Cox says the current system only allows a small group of lawyers to select judges.

Actuality:  COX.WAV
Run Time:  00:04
Description: "They are trying to preserve the status-quo where lawyers control the system. That's elitist."

Democratic Representative Chris Kelly says there is no need to change the non-partisan plan because it has been successful since it was created in 1940.

The bill will be heard by the committee a second time before being voted on.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Paige Hornor.

 

Intro: 
Under a new bill, the public would be required to vote for Missouri judges.
RunTime:  0:45
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The bill eliminates the non-partisan court plan, which selects judges based on merit.

The current plan requires that judges undergo an application process, are selected by a judicial commission and approved by the governor.

Republican Representative Doug Funderburk is the sponsor of the bill.

Actuality:  FUNDERB.WAV
Run Time:  00:06
Description: "I believe in a more direct democracy. I believe that citizens should be more directly involved."

Under Funderburk's plan, the public would select judges through a statewide vote.

President of the Missouri Bar Association Lynn Vogel says the current plan allows judges to be free from constituency and is the least political way to select them.

The bill will be heard by the committee a second time before being voted on.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Paige Hornor.

Intro: 
Two bills introduced to the House Judicial Committee would allow the public to be more involved in the selection of Missouri judges.
RunTime:  0:40
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The two bills eliminate the non-partisan court plan.

Instead, Supreme court judges would be elected by popular vote.

Appellate and circuit court judges would be selected by the governor and Senate.

Lobbyist for the Missouri Bar Association Woody Cozad says nobody complains about the current system.

Actuality:  COZAD.WAV
Run Time:  00:09
Description: "Our system works and those judges were picked under this plan that we are told is elitist and undemocratic and the fact is that it works pretty well."

Republican Representative Stanley Cox says the current plan prevents the public from being involved in the process.

Both bills will be heard a second time before being voted on.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Paige Hornor.


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