Missouri Starts to Look at Process for Capitol Interns

(AP) – A team has been formed to review the Missouri House’s intern policy in an effort to address a recent scandal when the former speaker resigned after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a Capitol intern, Republican Speaker Todd Richardson said Wednesday.

Richardson, of Poplar Bluff, said he’s asked a working group conduct a “robust review” of current policy. The legislative intern handbook details how to report sexual or other forms of harassment and how those complaints are expected to be investigated. Texting or other forms of association with employees and lawmakers is not addressed.

The review comes amid increased national scrutiny of Missouri Capitol internship programs. Former House Speaker John Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, resigned the last day of session May 15 after apologizing for texting with a 19-year-old intern.

Richardson, who was elected by the House to replace Diehl, said strengthening the current intern policy would be one of his top priorities after session ended.

Democratic and Republican House members, the House clerk’s staff, legislative researchers and others are involved in the review, Richardson said.

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