Legislative leaders planning special session

When lawmakers return to Jefferson City on Tuesday, the Missouri House and Senate leaders plan to begin gathering signatures to call themselves back to the Capitol for a special session to discuss possible impeachment of Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Missouri Constitution was amended in 1988 to allow that process, though it never has been used.

The Legislature needs signatures from three-fourths of the members in each chamber - 123 in the House and 26 in the Senate - on a petition that is submitted to the secretary of state. If they are successful in calling a special session, it can last no more than 30 days.

Missouri's Constitution says: "All elective executive officials of the state, and judges of the supreme court, courts of appeals and circuit courts shall be liable to impeachment for crimes, misconduct, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or oppression in office."

The Constitution gives the "House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment."

Adoption of any articles of impeachment requires a constitutional majority of the House - at least 82 votes.

If the House votes to impeach the governor, the Constitution requires the Senate to choose "a special commission of seven eminent jurists" to hear the governor's impeachment trial - and any conviction can occur only if at least five of those seven judges agree.

State law says the judges must be active circuit or appeals court judges, and cannot come from the state Supreme Court.

Under Missouri's Constitution, "judgment of impeachment shall not extend beyond removal from office, but shall not prevent punishment of such officer by the courts on charges growing out of the same matter."

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