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If Courser resigns, filling open seat would be up to the governor (From the 8-9 County Press)

       If Courser resigns, filling open seat would be up to the governor

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616

 Gov. Rick Snyder Gov. Rick Snyder LAPEER COUNTY — It’s not entirely clear what would happen should state Rep. Todd Courser, R-Silverwood, leave the state House of Representatives as a result of the scandal that broke Friday morning.

Following calls for his resignation, Lapeer County Clerk Theresa Spencer said the state Bureau of Elections told her that in the event of a resignation filling the seat would be “up to the governor.”

In 2001 state Sen. David Jaye, R-Washington Twp., became the first state senator to be expelled from the body following three drunken driving convictions.

To expel a House or Senate member, the state constitution requires a two-thirds vote by the body making the expulsion. However, if an expelled member is re-elected, they can’t be expelled for the same complaint.

In 1978, the state House voted 84-20 to expel state Rep. Monte Geralds, D-Madison Heights, after he was convicted of embezzling $24,000 from a former law client.

Spencer said at least one person called her office about the requirements for a recall election Friday. She said changes to the state’s election laws in 2012 prevent a recall election in the first six months and last six months of a state representative’s two-yearterm.

Courser has been in office eight months.

The same election law changes combine a recall election with a special election to determine who will hold the seat and nominations for the recall election are made by the county political party committees.

To trigger a recall election, petitioners need to collect signatures equal to 25 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

The reasons for the recall printed on the recall petition must be the reasons approved by the County Election Commission.

Spencer said state election officials told her the cost of a recall election would be the county’s responsibility.

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