Paul LeVota

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

Missouri House members will have to undergo training to prevent sexual harassment every year and are barred from engaging in romantic fraternization with staff and interns.

The House committee on administration and accounts voted 6-1 to adopt the policies, which take effect immediately.

State Rep. Kip Kendrick
Nathan Lawrence I KBIA

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is flying solo, so to speak, for this week’s edition of Politically Speaking. He’s welcoming state Rep. Kip Kendrick to show to talk about changing legislative policies toward interns, the upcoming veto session and northeast Missouri politics.

Áine O'Connor

After the resignations of Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, and Sen. Paul LeVota, D- Independence, earlier this year following realizations of sexually explicit texts and advances toward college-aged interns, the public’s eye has turned not just to the political decisions of Missouri lawmakers but the culture in Jefferson City as well.

Public faith in those serving the public good at the Capitol seems to have taken a serious hit.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson is maintaining that a proposed new dress code for interns is not, and will not, be among the recommendations for improving their working conditions.

House members have been working on several suggestions, which Richardson says will be released at a later date.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, is set to resign on Friday. Some feel his departure could serve as a departure to a Senate ruled by compromise.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The imminent departure of Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey amounts to an end of an era for the Missouri General Assembly, at least for Missouri Public Service Commissioner Scott Rupp.

Rupp – a former Republican senator from Wentzville – served in the Missouri House and Missouri Senate with Dempsey for years. He said the soon-to-be former St. Charles Republican senator was part of a very exclusive club within the Missouri General Assembly. 

(via Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill)

Amid all the talk about the misbehavior so obviously plaguing Jefferson City, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill contends that the real issue is that little has changed.

She was an intern in the Missouri capital 41 years ago. “I am bitterly disappointed that the climate has not changed significantly since 1974,’’ the senator said, recalling her own experiences with off-color jokes and unsolicited sexual comments.

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.

Missouri State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, announced he was resigning from office on Friday evening.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Facing heavy pressure from some of his party's top officials, state Sen. Paul LeVota announced Friday night that he was resigning from his seat.

In an announcement posted to his Facebook page, the Democrat from Independence cited "media attention" as being a "distraction from doing the people's work." The Missouri Senate detailed sexual harassment and retaliation allegations in a report released on Wednesday.

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

Updated 5:26 p.m., July 24 - It appears that the University of Central Missouri is siding with one of its students over allegations that she was sexually harassed by State Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, while working for him as an intern earlier this year.

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.

(via flickr/jimbowen0306)

The Missouri Senate passed the rest of the state budget Tuesday, after taking care of the first five bills on Monday. Those debates were routine for the most part, with the Senate approving the budgets for K-12 schools and Higher Education.


The Missouri Senate passed a tax cut bill, after two different versions were blocked by Republicans who opposed a compromise between the GOP sponsor and Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

State Sen. Rob Schaaf is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to health-care policy. But some believe that this staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion holds the key to ending the legislative impasse over it.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Debate has begun in the Missouri Senate on this year's attempt to cut the state's income tax rate.

It make take longer than expected to fill Ryan McKenna's void in the Missouri Senate.

When the Jefferson County Democrat resigned in December to become director of the state labor department, he left open the possibility that his Senate seat may remain vacant throughout 2014. If that occurs, the Missouri Senate would not be at full membership for an entire calendar year.

Missouri Senate

A proposal to circumvent thousands of potential student transfers in the Kansas City area may be considered by the Missouri General Assembly next year.

(Mo. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education)

Two members of the Missouri General Assembly are calling on Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Chris Nicastro to resign.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri Senate interim committee examining the state's Medicaid system voted this afternoon to adopt a draft report that recommends using managed care companies to provide health coverage to more of Missouri's working poor.

The report also deliberately excludes recommendations to expand Medicaid.  State Senator and committee chair Gary Romine (R, Farmington) maintained that Medicaid must be reformed first.

Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House and Senate have passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee farmers and ranchers the right to farm and ranch.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a phased-in tax overhaul designed to help the Show-Me State compete with neighboring Kansas, which recently slashed its tax rates.

Senate Bill 26 would lower state income taxes for individuals and corporations by three-quarters of a percentage point while raising the state sales tax by half a point.  Both would be phased in over a five-year period.  State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee’s Summit) says it would result in a revenue loss of around $450 million a year.