Missouri House Speaker John Diehl Resigns After Sexting Scandal

Categories: Politics, Sex

Missouri News Horizon
Speaker John Diehl in 2010.

One day after the Kansas City Star published pages of sexual texts between Republican House Speaker John Diehl and a college intern, Diehl has resigned.

This is an about-face from the St. Louis-area representative's attitude last night, when he hid out in his office for nine hours and finally emerged only to deny that he had sex with the intern. At the time, he apologized again, but said he had the support of the caucus despite the scandal.

In a new statement released today, Diehl formally acknowledges that he sent the texts and says he is stepping down.

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Speaker John Diehl Hides in His Office for Nine Hours, Then Denies He Had Sex With Intern

Categories: Politics, Sex

Courtesy Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio
The door.

Update: On Thursday, May 14, Diehl resigned. Read his statement here.

Reporters stood by for hours outside Republican House Speaker John Diehl's office yesterday, waiting for the embattled St. Louis-area lawmaker to emerge and answer questions unscripted about his reported affair with a college intern. Diehl responded with a statement yesterday afternoon to a Kansas City Star article revealing the sexts the two exchanged.

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation," he said in the statement.

That wasn't good enough for some capitol reporters, who camped outside the speaker's door for nine hours, hoping for more. Finally, around 11 p.m., Diehl emerged.

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Missouri House Speaker John Diehl Was Sexting an Intern, Kansas City Star Reports [UPDATE]

Categories: Politics, Sex

texting.jpg via Flickr
Oh noz.

Update: Diehl issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon admitting to the affair, but not offering to step down. Here's the full statement:

"I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down. I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session."

Original post follows....

The Kansas City Star ran an exclusive this morning, reporting that Republican House Speaker John Diehl exchanged some sexy texts with a female intern. The woman was a freshman at Missouri Southern State University living in Jefferson City as a part of the school's Missouri Capitol internship program.

Which has since been cancelled! And no one will say why, according to the paper.

Oh, brother.

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Missouri Bill to Keep Police Dash and Body Cam Footage From Public Dies in Committee

Categories: Police, Politics

Thumbnail image for fergusonbodycamera2.4.15.jpg
Danny Wicentowski
An officer wearing a body camera in Ferguson.

House Bill 762 -- the Missouri bill that would at minimum make it impossible to obtain police video until after a case is closed, and at worst would prevent the public from ever accessing such footage -- failed to make it out of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety yesterday morning. That suggests the bill is dead, at least for now.

The legislation was introduced after calls for police officers to wear body cameras following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson last summer. But the language may have applied to all police-obtained video, including dash cam footage.

The bill was adamantly opposed by both the Missouri Press Association and the ACLU of Missouri.

"We are relieved that this version didn't move forward," says Doug Crews, executive director of the MPA. "We think Missouri needs guidelines in this area, but we don't think closure of the records should be the starting point."

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Governor Nixon Fails to Offer Passable Bullshit Reason for $1,300 Float Trip

Categories: Politics

Flickr via Doug Wertman
Everyone loves a good float trip, and Governor Jay Nixon is no exception.
There was a bit of interesting Missouri audit news this week, and (thank goodness) it had nothing to do with rumored bigotry or suicide.

Instead, an audit released Wednesday revealed that Governor Jay Nixon's office has been spreading its expenses to other agencies, seemingly to cover the fact that the Office of the Governor burns through cash faster than the Cubs burn through optimism. According to the report, between July 2011 and June 2014, fourteen state agencies paid at least $948,000 worth of personnel and travel costs for employees of Nixon's office and mansion.

However, the most interesting part in the report described how Nixon's office expensed $1,300 to take the guv'nor, his wife and four staffers on a one-day float trip.

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Daily Show Hosts Missouri Governor Hopeful Eric Greitens

Categories: Politics

Daily Show
Could this handsome Navy SEAL win the Missouri governor's seat?
At the moment, the race for Missouri governor is a mess.

Sure, Attorney General Chris Koster has piled up $3.2 million in his campaign coffers and appears to be the clear favorite to represent the Democratic Party in 2016. But Republicans? That's a whole other story. State auditor Tom Schwiech's suicide in February has left the state's GOPers scrambling, and this week, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder revealed he is considering entering the fray. He would join former Missouri House speaker Catherine Hanaway, businessman John Brunner and a several other Republican lawmakers.

However, the most intriguing addition to the 2016 governor's race is arguably Eric Greitens. A bestselling author and former Navy SEAL, Greitens' gubernatorial exploratory committee has already raised $479,000, according to campaign records. Last night, Greitens stopped by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to talk about his new book, Resilience, while also showing off how good he looks in a suit.

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St. Louis Parking Ticket Policy Is a Racket, Class-Action Suit Alleges

Courtesy of Flickr/Lance McCord
Pissed about a parking ticket? Former St. Louis City Counselor Eric Banks has filed a class-action lawsuit against the city in circuit court, challenging its parking enforcement practices as a violation of constitutional rights. The suit seeks to represent anyone who received a citation for parking at an expired meter -- and was found liable after enduring the city's administrative hearing process.

Those hearings are the main issue in Banks' lawsuit. As the attorney describes it, he arrived for a hearing after getting a parking ticket he was convinced was unfair -- only to be told by the hearing officer that, unless he had evidence that the parking meter in question was broken at the time of citation, the officer would rule against him.

Then the officer did just that, even though the city hadn't bothered to send anyone to testify on its behalf, and even though Banks believed he'd identified procedural errors. The burden was entirely on Banks.

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MO Rep. Shane Roden: Protect the Pledge of Allegiance from Arabic, Other Languages

Categories: Politics

simpleinsomnia via Flickr
If lawmakers love the traditional pledge so much, why don't they restore its traditional salute?
Talk American, dammit!

That's the basic message some Missouri's lawmakers want to send to the state's roughly 360,000 multilingual residents, and specifically to public school students. On Wednesday, the Missouri House gave initial approval to a bill that would mandate the Pledge of Allegiance -- the statement of belief that embodies America's spirit of inclusion and unity -- be only spoken in English.

The bill comes courtesy of freshman Republican Representative Shane Roden of Cedar Hill, who backed the measure with iron-clad logic of, well, xenophobia:

"Next thing you know we're reciting our Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic," Roden told the Associated Press. "The Pledge of Allegiance needs to be recited in the English language because that is the official language of Missouri."

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Rep. Jeffrey Pogue Bill Would Ban Unisex Bathrooms

Categories: Politics

Flickr via sylvar.
The 1820s are not pleased.
Watch out, Missourians: Your state is being threatened by people who do not respect the "social norms" of nineteenth-century bathrooms.

So claims Jeffrey Pogue, a Republican state representative from Salem, who yearns for the halcyon days of the Missouri's infancy, a time when men were men, women were women and transgender individuals weren't clamoring for the right to use facilities that aligned with their gender identity.

"I'm wanting to protect the social norms of our state, the same social norms that have operated in our state since the organization of Missouri in 1820," Pogue told the Columbia Daily Tribune, defending two bills he proposed last month that would prohibit the state from accommodating the needs of its transgender citizens. One bill would mandate that all public bathrooms, unless they are single-occupancy, be divided by gender. The other would make it illegal for state funds to go to "any entity" that tries to implement a "project, program, or policy that creates or attempts to create a gender-neutral environment."

"These Missourian cultural rules, the status quo, are nearly 200 years old, and have operated well throughout our state," Pogue said.

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Missouri Lawmakers Think Welfare Recipients Waste Money on Fish, Steak and Porn

Categories: Politics

Flickr via Mike Mozart
Seafood: A luxury Missouri's welfare recipients don't deserve?
They say if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. But teach the man to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.

Some Missouri lawmakers have seemingly taken the old saying and distilled it down to its most reductive lesson: Don't give fish to poor people.

Indeed, there seems to be something a bit twisted in Republican Representative Rick Brattin's House Bill 813, which would bar Missouri's roughly 930,000 food-stamp recipients from using their government payouts to buy seafood. The bill would also ban energy drinks, soda, cookies, chips and steak.

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