What Constitutional Duties Does the Lieutenant Governor Have?

The Lieutenant Governor is the only statewide elected official that is part of both the Executive and Legislative branches in Missouri. The Lieutenant Governor is elected separately from the Governor and each can be a member of different political parties. Missouri ‘s Constitution provides that the Lieutenant Governor assumes the powers and duties of the Governor when the Governor is absent from the state or unable to serve. Art. IV §11(b).

Under Article IV §10 of the Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Missouri Senate. The role of Lieutenant Governor as presiding officer was affirmed in a 1973 Missouri Supreme Court decision State vs. Cason. The Lieutenant Governor has the right to preside over the Senate but is subject to the procedural rules of the Senate while doing so.

As President of the Senate, the Lieutenant Governor can cast a vote in the case of a tie. The Constitution also gives the Lieutenant Governor the right to debate and vote on issues when the Senate sits as a Committee of the Whole.

What Are the Qualifications to Become Lieutenant Governor?

The qualifications for Lieutenant Governor are the same as that of the Governor: at least thirty years old, a citizen of the United States for at least fifteen years, and a resident of this state at least ten years before election.

While the Governor and Treasurer are limited to two terms of office, the Lieutenant Governor has no such restriction.

What Is the Term of Office for the Lieutenant Governor?

The Lieutenant Governor, like the Governor, holds office for a term of four years beginning at 12:00 noon on the second Monday in January following the election (RSMo 26.015). The Lt. Governor is elected during each Presidential election year.

What Is the Order of Succession to the Governorship?

Article IV §11(a) of the Constitution.

If the governor-elect dies before taking office, the lieutenant governor-elect shall take the term of the governor-elect. On the death, conviction or impeachment, or resignation of the governor, the lieutenant governor shall become governor for the remainder of the term. If there be no lieutenant governor the president pro tempore of the senate, the speaker of the house, the secretary of state, the state auditor, the state treasurer or the attorney general in succession shall become governor. On the failure to qualify, absence from the state or other disability of the governor, the powers, duties and emoluments of the governor shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor for the remainder of the term or until the disability is removed. If there be no lieutenant governor, or for any of said causes the lieutenant governor is incapable of acting, the president pro tempore of the senate, the speaker of the house, the secretary of state, the state auditor, the state treasurer, and the attorney general in succession shall act as governor until the disability is removed.

What Other Roles Does the Lieutenant Governor Fill?

The Lieutenant Governor sits on several boards and commissions that make important policy decisions for our state. Visit this link for a complete list of boards and commissions.

A referendum passed in 1992 also established the “Office of Advocacy and Assistance for the Elderly” within the Lieutenant Governor’s office. Under RSMo 660.620, the elderly advocate has the following responsibilities:

  • The elderly advocate shall coordinate activities with the long-term care ombudsman program on complaints made by, or on behalf of, elderly persons residing in long-term care facilities.
  • The elderly advocate shall conduct a suitable investigation into any actions complained of unless the elderly advocate finds that the complaint pertains to a matter outside the scope of the authority of the elderly advocate, the complainant has no substantive or procedural interest which is directly affected by the matter complained about, or the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith.
  • After completing his investigation of a complaint, the elderly advocate shall inform the complainant, the agency, official or employee of action recommended by the elderly advocate. The elderly advocate shall make such reports and recommendations to the affected agencies, the governor and the general assembly as he deems necessary to further the purposes of sections 660.620 and 660.625.
  • The elderly advocate shall, in conjunction with the division of aging, act as a clearing house for information pertaining to, and of interest to, the elderly and shall disseminate such information as is necessary to inform elderly persons of their rights and of governmental and nongovernmental services available to them.

How Closely Does the Lieutenant Governor Work with the Governor’s Office?

The Lieutenant Governor and his staff work with the Governor’s office on issues related to the Lieutenant Governor’s duties. While we are not directly involved with every decision the Governor makes, we cooperate with the Governor on matters dealing with senior citizens, tourism, veterans, reorganization/review of government, and community involvement