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Senate passes bill to allow state employees run for local office

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Senate third read and passed legislation Tuesday that would allow for some state employees to run for local public office

The legislation allows state employees not subjected to the Merit System or the Uniform Classification and Pay System to run for a political office. As the law stands now, individuals employed by the state who are subjected to the State Personnel Law cannot participate in certain political activities, including running for a partisan office. 

Republican state Sen. Dan Hegeman, who is behind SB 631, said the bill came to fruition following concerns from one of his constituents. The constituent, he said, is an employee with the Missouri Department of Transportation and would have to give up his job completely in order to run for a county sheriff seat. 

“I’m pleased the Senate passed SB631 to give all state employees the opportunity to participate in the political process,” Hegeman said in a statement to The Missouri Times. “We should continue to encourage all citizens to be active and engaged in their government.”

“It doesn’t seem fair, it doesn’t seem American, and it doesn’t seem Missourian,” Hegeman said from the Senate floor last month during the bill’s perfection process. 

Missouri’s State Personnel Law mandates employees of state agencies cannot use his or her position to interfere in an election, knowingly solicit or accept a political contribution from a subordinate, run as a nominee or candidate for a partisan political office, or interfere with the political participation of another individual who has business (such as a contract, grant, or license) pending before that employee’s department. 

Hegeman’s bill would leave intact all of the restrictions except for the one barring an individual from running for a political office. 

The bill includes an emergency clause. 

This story has been updated.