Senate votes to expand Secretary of State's powers
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Senate has voted to give the secretary of state the authority to prosecute election crimes.
Senators voted 25-4 Thursday to allow the secretary of state's office to issue probable cause statements and take cases to court. The office can currently investigate complaints, but any prosecution is left to local officials or the attorney general's office.
Bill sponsor Will Kraus said local prosecutors would still have the first opportunity to try a case, but those officials often focus more on crimes where someone has suffered direct harm.
Kraus is a candidate for Secretary of State.
Sen. Jill Schupp said other departments don't prosecute crimes, and adding that power to the secretary of state's office could be expensive.
The bill now goes to the House.