John Diehl

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has set three legislative special elections for Nov. 3, including one to fill the post that had been held by former House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country.

Diehl resigned in May after a scandal erupted over the public disclosure of sexually suggestive text messages he had exchanged with a college-age intern.

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Within the outcry over state Sen. Paul LeVota’s resignation, one response in particular stood out.

It wasn’t from a Democratic heavy-hitter like Sen. Claire McCaskill or Gov. Jay Nixon. And it didn’t come from a pundit or a journalist. The most poignant reply came from Rachel Gonzalez, a 16-year-old student who is president of the High School Democrats of Missouri.

House Speaker Todd Richardson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back House Speaker Todd Richardson to the program.

Diehl briefly speaks with reporters after issuing a statement in which he apologized for "poor judgment" regarding texts he had with a female intern.
Eli Rosenberg | KMBC-TV, Kansas City

The FBI has apparently been questioning some public officials and other potential sources of information about whether former Missouri House Speaker John Diehl used any influence in the awarding of a Jackson County contract.

Diehl, who is a Republican from Town and Country, said late Tuesday that he has not been contacted by the FBI. He declined further comment.

However, the consultant whose firm had been awarded the contract – former Democratic aide Brittany Burke – said she had been questioned by the law-enforcement agency several weeks ago. Diehl and Burke have confirmed they were involved in a relationship for several months in early 2014, but they have not been together in more than a year.

Rep. Stephen Webber
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Stephen Webber to the show for the first time. Carrying on a tradition started by state Rep. Caleb Jones, R-Columbia, and state Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, the Columbia Democrat drove from mid-Missouri to our headquarters at Grand Center to tape the show.

Former House Speaker Steve Tilley
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s extra edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley to the show.

The Perryville Republican – who now has a residence in Chesterfield – was previously on the show in 2013, and provided candid insights into his tenure as speaker.  We asked him back to discuss two big stories percolating throughout the Missouri political universe – the resignation of Republican House Speaker John Diehl and the fight over “right to work.” 

Jeff Smith
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies chat with former Missouri state Sen. Jeff Smith about his post-political life — and recent turbulence in Jefferson City. Smith was a rising political star before going to prison for lying to federal investigators.

Richardson meets the press on Thursday after being tabbed to be the next speaker of the Missouri House.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

New Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson has assembled what he calls “a working group" of legislators and House staff to come up with changes in the chamber’s student intern program.

The six legislators on the panel – two Democrats and four Republicans – include state Rep. Jeanne Kirkton, D-Webster Groves. Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, are seeking the changes as a result of a scandal this spring that prompted then-House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, to resign over sexual text messages he was exchanging with a college-age intern.

Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

An investigation by the Missouri Senate and the University of Central Missouri appears to be underway into whether there was inappropriate treatment of another Missouri legislative intern, although there has been no official confirmation.

State Sen. Scott Sifton angrily speaks on Wednesday. The Affton Democrat was a key figure in grinding business of the Senate to a halt after Republicans stopped a filibuster of right to work.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The final week of the Missouri General Assembly's session is usually pretty hectic — but not for the reasons that occurred last week.

House Speaker Todd Richardson takes to the dais after he was elected Speaker of the Missouri House. Richardson has emerged as one of the most promising Republican politicians in a generation.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

From the moment Todd Richardson was sworn into the Missouri General Assembly, there was an aura of promise around the Poplar Bluff Republican.

With his oratorical skills and a knack for handling big-ticket legislation, high expectations were placed on Richardson to succeed. Some political watchers foresaw a future in Missouri House leadership – and even climbing the ranks of federal politics.

Members of the Republican caucus converge in the House Lounge after Diehl announced his resignation.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

As reality shows go, the Missouri General Assembly’s last week is generally worth watching. This week, the legislature outdid itself. Typically, the session closes with a flurry of surprise votes. This year, the surprise was that nothing — nothing — happened on the floor for days as both chambers imploded.

Todd Richardson after the Republican caucus selected the Poplar Bluff native as the next speaker of the Missouri House.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 11 a.m. Friday, May 15) Missouri Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, was elected and sworn in as new House speaker Friday, and swiftly got the House back to the business at hand — passing bills in the final hours of a surreal last week of session.

"This is not the time for speeches,'' Richardson said, ending tumultuous applause from the packed chamber. "This is a time to get back to work."

Diehl briefly speaks with reporters after issuing a statement in which he apologized for "poor judgment" regarding texts he had with a female intern.
Eli Rosenberg | KMBC-TV, Kansas City

Updated 1:40 p.m. Thurs, May 14: Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has announced he's resigning as speaker and as a member of the Missouri House.

His statement was issued less than 28 hours after news broke that he had been exchanging sexually salacious texts with a college-age female intern earlier this spring.

Diehl's statement does not say, however, when he will step down. The General Assembly's legislative session officially ends at 6 p.m. Friday. State Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, told reporters the House's GOP caucus will select a new speaker tonight.

Reps. Sue Entlicher and Eric Burlison during the right-to-work debate. 5.13.2015
Tim Bommel | Missouri House of Representatives

Amid a sex-text scandal engulfing the House speaker, the Missouri House voted Wednesday to approve an anti-union bill that would make Missouri the nation's 26th "right-to-work" state.

But the 92-66 vote was well shy the 109 needed to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s promised veto, prompting even some Republican lawmakers to blast their leadership for pressing for the controversial matter during the session’s final week.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

John Diehl famously stated at the start of the 2015 legislative session that the Missouri House would not have a “Ferguson agenda.”

Yet on Wednesday, he unveiled a new proposal to pass one of the so-call agenda’s top priorities: reforming the way municipal courts treat low-income residents who get ticketed for speeding and other traffic violations.

Missouri governor's office

While in Europe, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s trade entourage has held a lot of meetings, but so far has yet to strike any deals.

That was the message in the governor’s progress report, delivered via a telephone call Wednesday from Munich in Germany.

House Speaker John Diehl presides over the Missouri House last week. Diehl, R-Town and Country, has rejected the idea of pursuing a "Ferguson agenda," but adds the House will take up bills changing municipal courts.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

At first glance, state Sen. Bob Dixon wouldn’t be an obvious choice to spearhead legislation responding to the unrest in and around Ferguson.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's two top legislative leaders are among those who will join Gov. Jay Nixon for an eight-day trade trip to Italy, Germany and Spain.

At a news conference Monday in St. Charles, the governor said the trip, which begins Friday,makes sense. The three countries already purchase more than $570 million a year in Missouri products. And Germany  is the state’s seventh top trade partner.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Neither the Missouri House nor Senate will consider any new bills to address a blistering report by the U.S. Justice Department over the operations of the Ferguson Police Department.

That's because it's now too late to file any new legislation this year.  

The filing deadline in the Senate was last Thursday, Feb. 26. The House filing deadline is tomorrow, March 6, but the House has already adjourned for the week. 

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