Essay, Research Paper: Missouri Constitution

Politics

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The Missouri State Constitution is going to be revised and portions of it maybe
rewritten. I am one of the members of the Commission that have been assigned to
take on this task. The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial branches of
government are going to be overlooked and some procedures and policies may even
be rewritten. In the following report that I am about to give, I will be
addressing some core issues, that should be considered for change and also some
issues that should remain the same and why, in the rewriting process of the
Constitution. I will first be speaking about the Legislative department and will
cover both the House of Representatives and also the Senate. In the House the
term for a representative is now set at two years and that individual can serve
up to a maximum of eight years in that chamber. In the Senate the term for an
individual is a four-year term and the maximum they can serve is eight years
also for a combined total of sixteen years in both chambers. The terms and
limits for both chambers should remain the same due to the fact that one member
cannot gain too much influence in their position. Both terms are the same as the
national level and these terms have always worked. Because these representatives
are on the state level they should not be allowed to serve any more than eight
years in each chamber with a total of Sixteen in both chambers. This maximum
service of sixteen is ideal so no one member can gain too much influence in
their position. They are either forced to go elsewhere or to run for the
national level and service our state to further their career. As for
qualifications, a House member is to be at least 24 years of age, have been a
registered voter for two years, and a resident of the state for one year. Having
the age limit set at 24 is ideal because it is the lowest adult age for an
individual to start a brilliant career. The qualification for being a registered
voter for two years should be raised to three because someone of this stature
should have just a bit more of experience in elections and voting. As for being
a resident for, the standard should be raised from one year to three years
because one should have more background in they state he is serving than just
one year. The people should feel like he or she is more involved in the state
for more than just one year; someone could just move here for a year from
another state just to get this position and not really have the longtime
residentsí best interests at heart. All the qualifications for the Senate
should be the same as the House except for the age, which should stay at 30
because this position is a little more prestigious, and should have a higher age
limit. Moving on to whether the Legislature should be kept as bicameral or
changed to a unicameral legislature. The Legislature should be kept bicameral
because having two houses is the most efficient way for the Legislature to work.
By having two houses, we spread the power and duties and if a certain party
rules one chamber, they might be able to do as they please with laws and bills.
This duel-chambered policy is ideal for a system of checks and balances within
the Legislative department. The House and the Senate meet in early January until
mid May each year for their session. While they are in session, each member
receives ten dollars a day on top of the annual salary of $29,080.20. The
session length is satisfactory enough do discuss what needs to be discussed for
the state at that time. As for the salary of the members of congress, many of
the representatives have other jobs besides being a representative for their
area. After all, they do not even meet for a full half-year. Therefore, their
salaries should remain the same. The governor and five SEOís head up the
Executive department. The governor is required to be 30 years of age, been a
citizen for fifteen years, and have been a resident of the state for a total of
ten years that do not have to be consecutive. The qualifications of the governor
should be kept where they are because they only seem logical to have a
governorís age at 30 because that is about mid life and because this is a
prestigious position the residency and the citizenship should be greatly
increased from that of a senator. The governorís duties are commander in chief
of the National Guard just as the president is the commander in chief of the
armed forces for the United States. His duties are just as the Presidentís are
for the country, he appoints his own staff, department heads, and can appoint
certain judges. However; the governor cannot introduce a bill, this should be
changed so that if the governor does have an idea for a bill, he can propose it
to one of the chambers and they can take it from there, regardless, the bill
still has to go through the same channels of both houses in becoming a bill. In
addition to the governor, he has five other elected officials that head the
state with him, which are: the Lt. Governor, State Auditor, the Secretary of
State, the Attorney General, and the State Treasurer. All five of these offices
serve a four-year term and have no term limits on what they can serve. Limits
should be placed on how many terms each office should serve, and that limit
should be three terms for a total of 12 years in that elected office. If one
individual is in an office too long, they could take advantage of their office
and use it unlawfully. We should place the same restrictions that are on our
U.S. President and Vice President and apply them to our state officials. Certain
individuals could gain too much influence and control a certain area of the
state. The Lt. Governor presides over the Senate which is rightfully so because
the VP of the U.S. also is the presiding officer of the Senate on the national
level. The Lt. Governor also can create additional tasks for himself, which is a
good idea because he should find more duties to get more involved in the
government. The State Auditor is the only SEO that is elected at a different
time than all the others and he audits all state agencies and can audit local
government units upon request. The State Auditorís duties are few but
important and they should remain the same because he has a specific task that
takes time and effort. The Secretary of State coordinates elections, keeps
records, and oversees the maintenance of libraries. These roles for the
Secretary should also remain the same. He also has specific duties towards the
state that takes careful planning and hard work and this position should not
require any more activity. The Attorney General must donate his or her full time
to the office and is not allowed to involve them in a private practice and is
liked to have a law degree. Being the most important office in the government
the Attorney General is required to issue legal opinions to all statewide
executive officials. Though the opinions of the Attorney General do not have the
force of law, his opinion is highly regarded just because of the position that
he is in. The attorney General defends state law when challenged on the federal
constitutional grounds. This office also protects monopolies from forming and
enforces the Consumer Protection Act. The Attorney Generalís office should not
be taken lightly because they have a great deal of power and responsibility.
This position should stay a full time position due to the duties that have to be
preformed. However, the requirements for the office should change. Because this
office is so highly decorated the person running should at least be 28 years of
age, have been a citizen for ten years, and a resident of the state for at least
five years. He or she should also be required to have a law degree due to the
fact that he is required to serve the state in legal matters. This position
should not be taken lightly, the Attorney General is a powerful man that can
powerful influences on the people and on other offices. The State Treasurer
handles the budget for Missouri and being that is his function, that should be
his only function. Dealing with the state budget takes careful planning in how
the money should and will be spent. They must also keep records of all the money
that has been spent and how. This is a great responsibility and this should be
the only one. The Missouri Judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court then
the Court of Appeals. Next are the Circuit Courts with 45 circuits in each
county and then below that are the circuit, juvenile, associate, probate, and
municipal divisions of courts. Trial and circuit courts use partisan selections,
which allows the people to vote on a judge who is geographically close. The
Appellate uses the Missouri plan that eliminates partisan politics, promotes
independence, and is more competitive. In criminal cases charges can be filed
either by the prosecutor or by a grand jury. Both of these plans should be kept
the same because we use the prosecutor indictment mainly, but it is good to have
a second form. The terms and qualifications for municipal judges are to be
between 21 and seventy, and must not be a term less than two years. For
associate judges, they are elected for four-year terms and must be at least 25
years of age. Circuit judges are popularly elected and serve six-year terms and
must be at least 30 years of age. Appellate and Supreme Court judges are
selected for 12-year terms. These qualifications and they can get re-elected
into their spot if that time comes. All the judges should be elected except for
that of the Missouri Supreme Court. Because this is such a prestigious position
to have they should be appointed for life just as on the national level. The
Missouri government is financed through general revenue, through federal funds,
and through some other small funds such as the taxing on cigaretteís,
gambling, liquor, and the lottery. These taxes and sources of revenue income
should be kept as they are. We may even reduce the tax on some of the small
taxes since the income for the state this past year exceeded the Hancock
Amendment.
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