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Gov. Eric Greitens announced in late May that he would resign after facing months of political and legal scandals.The saga started in January, when KMOV released a recording of a woman saying Greitens took a compromising photo of her during a sexual encounter and threatened to blackmail her.A St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens in February on felony invasion of privacy. The woman testified to lawmakers that Greitens sexually and physically abused her, spurring bipartisan calls for his resignation or impeachment.The invasion of privacy charge was eventually dropped by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office following a series of prosecutorial missteps before the trial began. Greitens was also accused of illegally obtaining a donor list from the veterans non-profit he co-founded with his political campaign, but that charge, too, was dismissed as part a deal that led to his resignation as governor.

Missouri GOP Sen. Koenig breaks down abortion-regulations bill ahead of special session resuming

Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, July 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Andrew Koenig to the program.

Koenig is a Manchester Republican and the main sponsor of abortion legislation that’s being considered in the Missouri legislature’s current (though interrupted) special session. Senators are expected to return on Monday.

Among other things, Koenig’s bill would allow Missouri’s attorney general to file lawsuits if a clinic violates the state’s abortion laws. As it stands now, only local prosecutors can take such action.

The legislation also would require doctors — not social workers or nurse practitioners — to explain medical risks to a woman seeking an abortion. It would also require the Department of Health and Senior Services to conduct unannounced, annual inspections of clinics.

Another provision of the bill focuses on a St. Louis ordinance barring employment and housing discrimination based on whether a woman has had an abortion or takes contraception. News outlets previously misrepresented what’s in the bill, so Koenig took care to note that he’s seeking to make sure pregnancy resource centers, which discourage women from having abortions, aren’t discriminated against.

Koenig said he plans to pass his bill without making changes. If that happens, the legislation will go to Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk.

Here’s what Koenig had to say during the show:

  • Koenig said his bill does not completely overturn St. Louis’ anti-discrimination ordinance. That means, in Koenig’s view, employers who are not religiously affiliated will still need to comply with St. Louis’ protections. "So this notion that someone can be fired just for taking birth control is false and is not something that is part of the bill," he said.
  • He said it’s possible that the provision authorizing the attorney general to bring legal action against abortion clinics might not get used if Missouri residents elect an AG who supports abortion rights.
  • Koenig said Democrats may filibuster his legislation when special session resumes. If that happens, Koenig said it’s likely that Republicans will use a procedure to cut off debate.
  • Greitens issued an executive order Monday setting up a prescription drug monitoring database. Koenig said he is skeptical the program will work. “We have 49 states that do this and we’re middle of the road when it comes to opioid deaths,” he said.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Andrew Koenig on Twitter: @Koenig4MO

Music: "More Than This" by Roxy Music

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