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State Office Responsibilities

By: MDN Staff
State Capitol Bureau

The responsibilities of the five statewide offices on the November ballot include, but are not limited to (click on the office to see the details):
  • Governor
    • The governor appoints the members of all boards and commissions, all department heads in state government and fills all vacancies in public offices unless otherwise provided by law. Many major appointments require the consent of the Senate.
    • The governor gives an annual State of the State address on Missouri government and recommends changes that need to be made.
    • He or she must also submit a budget within 30 days after the legislative session begins.
    • The governor has power to sign or veto bills passed by the legislature, although the state Constitution gives the legislature power to bypass the governor by putting a bill on the statewide ballot.  Also amendments to the state Constitution approved by the legislature are submitted to the voters rather than the governor.  A bill vetoed by the governor can be overridden by the two-thirds vote of the House and Senate.
    • The governor can grant reprieves or pardons.
    • The governor is commander in chief of the state's National Guard. When necessary, the governor can call out the state military to execute laws and suppress threats to the state.
    • The governor has the power to fill a vacancy in one of Missouri's two U.S. Senate seats (last done in 2001 when Jean Carnahan was appointed to fill the seat her husband had won after his death from a plane crash).  The governor also calls special elections to fill vacancies in the state legislature.
    • The governor fills a non-partisan court judge vacancy from a three-name panel selected by the nominating commission.

    The current governor is Jay Nixon who is seeking reelection to a second term. No person can hold the office of governor for more than two terms.

  • Lieutenant Governor
    • The lieutenant governor assumes the powers of governor if the governor is unable to discharge his duties.  If the disability is temporary (such as illness or absence from the state), the lieutenant governor serves as acting governor during the period of disability.  If the disability is permanent (such as death or removal from office), the lieutenant governor becomes governor.
    • The lieutenant governor serves as the ex officio president of the Missouri Senate.  He casts a vote only in case of a tie vote by the elected senators.  Senate rules severely restrict the presiding powers of the lieutenant governor.
    • The lieutenant governor is also official elderly advocate for the state as well as a member of the SenioRX Commission.

    The current lieutenant governor is Peter Kinder. He is running for reelection to a third term.

  • Secretary of State
    • The Secretary of State prepares all statewide ballots and certifies statewide ballot measures that are proposed by the General Assembly.
    • The office also has the responsibility of the office to canvass, certify and publish election results.
    • The Secretary of State regulates securities within the state and is responsible for enforcement of the state's securities laws.  The office also operates a division for maintaining corporation registrations and other corporate filings.
    • The Business Division of the Secretary of State commissions notaries public and registers all Missouri businesses.
    • The Secretary of State's office maintains various official records for the state, including the Missouri Register and Missouri Code of State Regulations.  He or she also maintains the state's official archives.
    • He or She publishes the "Official Manual" of Missouri.
    • The State Library is part of the Secretary of State's office.

    The current secretary of state is Robin Carnahan, who is not running for any office in 2012.

  • State Treasurer
    • The State Treasurer is the state's chief financial officer.  The office manages the state's revenues, directs the state's banking services and manages the state's investment portfolio.  A major portion of the State Treasurer's responsibility is to invest unused state funds into interest-bearing account.  However, some government monies such as various government employee retirement funds and the higher education institution fund are handled separately.
    • He or she serves on the management boards of several public entities, such as MOST, the College Savings Plan. 
    • The State Treasurer operates a program that tries to locate of owners over unclaimed assets that have been turned over to the state by banks, businesses, insurance companies and government agencies.  Unclaimed property mostly consists of cash from bank accounts, stocks, bonds and contents of safety deposit boxes. It does not handle real property such as land, houses, cars and boats.

    The current State Treasurer is Clint Zweifel who is seeking a second term. No person can serve as State Treasurer for more than two terms. 

  • Attorney General
    • The attorney general is the state's "chief legal officer."  When legally challenged, he defends the constitutionality of state statutes and actions of state officials.  He also can bring suits or defend the state in suits involving the state's interests, rights and claims. However, many agencies in the state hire their own lawyers to also represent their agency interests. 
    • The attorney general represents the state in every felony criminal case appeal and death sentence reviews by the state Supreme Court. 
    • He or she has the responsibility to institute legal action to remove from some government officials from elective office
    • The Attorney General has authority to seek the ouster from various offices any public official holding office illegally (such as a felony conviction).  This ouster power does not, however, include offices covered by the the state's impeachment provisions in which the Missouri House institutes ouster proceedings.
    • The attorney general operates consumer-protection services including administration of the state's "No Call List" dealing with telemarketers, enforcement of Missouri's Consumer Protection Act and enforcement of anti-trust laws.   The attorney general also serves as the state's chief prosecutor for securities fraud. 

    The current attorney general is Chris Koster who is seeking a second term.


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