Archive for the ‘Missouri Politics’ Category

LaVota Statement
May 21, 2015

Here is the statement from KC St. senator Paul LeVota:

Recently, the Missouri Capitol was buzzing about the Speaker of the House and his relationship with an intern. There have been unconfirmed rumors about the interns in the Missouri Senate program and other interns in the Missouri House. I understand the need for universities to look into rumors, even unsubstantiated rumors. I would be open to any university taking a further look at the experience of any of my legislative interns. I had the honor of working with five students from several universities across the state this spring.

This session, after a month and a half, my chief of staff was notified by e-mail that the male and female interns from UCM for my office were needed back at school to work on other projects. I was never informed by the university, or by either intern, of any issues they experienced other than that. I had no reason to doubt what the university said in that e-mail and still have no reason to doubt that. And as of today, I have still never been informed by any intern or staff member of any incidents at all. The remaining three interns assigned to my office had a great experience and finished the session. None have voiced any issues in their internship, nor any report that either of the UCM interns had any problems.

This is my 11th year in the Missouri Capitol and I have had an amazing experience with the intern program with students from across the state over that decade with no problems at all. Now with the recent climate, rumors and speculation abound and I am upset that any of these young people that come to experience the legislative process would be subject to sensationalism.”

Towson Joins Cierpiot In Leadership Race
May 20, 2015

AP) – Missouri state Rep. Caleb Rowden announced Wednesday that he’d run for majority leader against the current second-in-command Rep. Mike Cierpiot, previewing what could be a competitive race after the former speaker’s resignation last week led to a shuffle in Republican leadership.

Rep. Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff left the position open upon his election as House speaker, replacing John Diehl of Town and Country, who resigned Friday from the House’s top office after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive text messages with a Capitol intern.

Rowden was the first to publicly announce a bid to replace Richardson. Cierpiot told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he’s running as well.

House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins said he has no plans to run for majority leader, a position that determines if, when and how long House members debate bills. It’s considered a stepping stone to speaker.

Democrats Filibuster Snags Senate on Final Day
May 15, 2015

(AP) – Conceding they were hopelessly at odds, Missouri senators quit early on their final day of session Friday, effectively killing a bill to rewrite the state’s deadly force standards for police in response to last summer’s fatal shooting in Ferguson.

Senate Democrats briefly relented from a weeklong blockade to allow final approval of a bill reauthorizing $3.6 billion of annual health care provider taxes for the state’s Medicaid program. But that was the only bill they let come to a vote.

The Democrats have been stalling virtually all Senate action since the Republican majority used a rare procedural motion to shut off debate and force a vote earlier this week on a right-to-work bill barring the mandatory collection of union fees.

Acknowledging that nothing more was likely to get done, Republican Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard moved that the Senate adjourn around 3:15 p.m. – nearly three hours ahead of the 6 p.m. deadline. The other senators agreed.

The early adjournment means that all legislation pending in the Senate is now dead.

Meanwhile, the House continued to vote on bills, including many that had been passed by the Senate in previous weeks.

Special legislative sessions typically are called by the governor, but it’s unclear whether Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has any desire to summon lawmakers back later this year for more work.

One of the bills that died this session would redefine when police can use deadly force in response to the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, by a white Ferguson police officer.

The House passed the bill earlier Friday, but because it made changes to a version previously passed by the Senate, the bill needed one final vote from senators, which did not occur.

Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who represents Ferguson, denounced her colleagues for creating a “fiasco” that she described as “an embarrassment to this nation.”

“Now, any person in my district can be killed (by police) and, still, the person who killed them doesn’t have to be prosecuted,” said Chappelle-Nadal, who participated in protests after Brown’s Aug. 9 death. “All I ask is for is the opportunity to have the deadly force bill passed.”

In November, a state grand jury decided not to charge former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown, and a U.S. Justice Department report released in March determined Wilson acted in self-defense.

Missouri House GOP Caucus to Meet Tonight After Diehl Resignation
May 14, 2015

(AP) – Missouri House Speaker John Diehl said Thursday that he is resigning from the Legislature after acknowledging that he exchanged sexually charged text messages with a college student serving as a Capitol intern.

Diehl said he is stepping down both from his House speaker’s position and from his elected job as a Republican representative from suburban St. Louis. He said the resignation will take effect either Thursday or Friday, depending on when an orderly transition can be arranged.

Diehl acknowledged “making a serious error in judgment by sending the text messages” to the intern.

“I’m going to do what’s best for the (House) body and the (Republican) caucus, and step aside out of my office,” Diehl said in an interview with The Associated Press and reporters from three other media outlets.

“I made a mistake,” Diehl said. “It’s one that calls into question my ability to lead.”

His resignation announcement came a day after The Kansas City Star released a story accompanied by screenshots of what the newspaper said were electronic messages between Diehl and the intern, who no longer works at the Capitol. Some of the messages were sexually suggestive.

Diehl, 49, is an attorney who lives with his wife and three sons in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country. He first was elected in 2008 and had been chosen by colleagues as speaker in January to preside over one of the largest Republican legislative majorities in state history. He’s known for his ability to work deals and to persuade rank-and-file members to stick together on the party’s priorities.

Several Republican House members said they planned to meet as a caucus Thursday evening to discuss nominating a new speaker, who would have to be elected by the full House. Legislators face a 6 p.m. CDT Friday deadline to pass legislation this year

Diehl Resignation Statement
May 14, 2015

Here is John Diehl’s resignation statement. It does not say when he is stepping down

“In my time in the General Assembly, I’m proud of my long legislative legacy that was built upon being honest with members and doing what is in the best interest of our caucus and this body. I am proud to have led us to the largest Republican majority in state history, the first income tax cut in nearly one hundred years, and an override of the governor’s veto of Missouri’s congressional redistricting map.

I have acknowledged making a serious error in judgment by sending the text messages. It was wrong and I am truly sorry. Too often we hear leaders say they’re sorry but are unwilling to accept the consequences. I understand that, as a leader, I am responsible for my actions and I am willing to face the consequences.

I appreciate those who have stood beside me and the overwhelming number of caucus members that have offered continued support; but for the good of my party, the caucus, and this state, I’m not going to further jeopardize what we have accomplished this year and what can be accomplished in the future. Therefore, I will be resigning the position of Speaker of the House and the office of State Representative in a way that allows for an orderly transition.

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