JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (Legal Newsline) - Missouri's House Rules Committee passed a non-binding resolution on Monday that calls for Attorney General Chris Koster to join the multistate lawsuit challenging health care reform or file his own lawsuit.
According to news website Missouri.Watchdog.org, seven Republicans voted to pass the measure, while three Democrats voted against it.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder already filed a lawsuit against the health care act in July, along with three individuals who say they will have less access to affordable health care under the reform, signed into law by Obama in March.
But Koster, a Republican-turned-Democrat, filed a motion to intervene and a partial motion to dismiss.
"This interest addresses the core functions of the Attorney General's Office and it gives rise to a critical, fundamental question: Who speaks for the state of Missouri in the courts?" Koster wrote.
"Because the Missouri Legislature has answered this question in favor of the attorney general, he has an interest in ensuring that his office's authority is not undermined by the current posture of the instant litigation."
Koster later withdrew his motions.
In December, U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel ruled that Kinder's amended complaint, filed in August, was not presented to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri until November.
Sippel denied the plaintiffs' motion to compel an answer to their amended complaint. He wrote that an answer won't be due until Jan. 18.
Twenty states -- and more are looking to join -- are challenging a $695 annual penalty that will be imposed on individuals who do not purchase health insurance. Virginia, in a separate lawsuit, is defending a state law that says none of its residents can be penalized for not purchasing health insurance.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at email@example.com.