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Mo. House passes March presidential primary bill

(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation to move the state's 2012 presidential primary to March 6 instead of Feb. 7 as currently scheduled.

The House gave the bill final approval in a 137-11 vote Friday. The measure now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon. The Senate had already passed the measure.

The legislation would put Missouri in compliance with rules set by the national Democratic and Republican parties.

The change in the state's primary date comes as part of a broader elections bill. The measure would also require a special election if there are vacancies in the office of U.S. senators and statewide elected officials.

Currently, the governor is allowed to appoint someone to fill those positions if they become vacant.