Missouri lawmaker resigns, becomes drug court commissioner

Missouri lawmaker resigns, becomes drug court commissioner
Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City (Source: MO.gov)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the top-ranking Republicans has resigned early from the Missouri House to start a new job in the judicial system.

The House on Wednesday released a resignation letter from Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Austin, who stepped down Monday. Austin, who is a Springfield attorney, wrote that he will be working as the Greene County drug court commissioner and so could not continue as a House member.

Austin's legislative term had been scheduled to end in January. He chose not to seek re-election this year.

His resignation means 12 of the 163 House seats are now vacant — an unusually high number. The impact is minimal, however, because the Legislature isn’t scheduled to meet again until the newly elected members are sworn into office in January.