This should have been one of the most uneventful veto sessions in years. In fact, no gubernatorial vetoes were overridden; one was attempted by the House and failed while none were attempted by the Senate.
However, there was almost universal agreement that recent social media comments made by one of our State Senators had to be addressed. Her Facebook comment, although quickly removed and followed by multiple apologies, was unacceptable and without excuse. It expressed a desire for violence against the president – specifically his assassination. It represented conduct that was egregious and unbecoming a State Senator or any public official. It threatened the integrity of the Senate and disrespected the entire election process.
Many had publicly called for Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal to realize the seriousness of her statements, take responsibility for her words, and resign on her own accord. However, that was not the case so the Senate considered disciplinary options afforded it in the Missouri Constitution and the Senate Rules; the Senate retains the sole right and responsibility to discipline its members for disorderly conduct.
By a vote of 28 in favor and two opposed, the Senate took up and passed Senate Resolution 3 publicly censuring Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal. The censure includes language urging her to resign or face possible expulsion in the future. The censure also requires the Senator to conduct herself in a manner that respects the longstanding traditions of the Missouri Senate and her position as a Senator by refraining from action or words that incite or encourage violence.
Censuring a sitting member has never been done in the history of the Missouri Senate and is not something the Senate takes lightly. Nevertheless, by a near-unanimous vote the body agreed that the behaviors of Sen. Chappelle-Nadal warranted censure. I had not joined the chorus of voices calling for expulsion for a number of reasons, foremost of which is my reluctance to remove from office an official who is duly elected and retains the support of much of her constituency. I am also convinced that Sen. Chappelle-Nadal, having quickly removed the violent comment, is genuinely repentant and is sincere in her apologies. I supported the censure which expresses the Senate’s disdain for her post and drastically reduces any influence she might have had in her last year in the Missouri Senate. It, however, allows her constituents to retain a public policy voice.
Moving to more positive information: finding up-to-date information about Missouri’s economy just got a lot easier thanks to State Treasurer Eric Schmitt. This week, Schmitt announced the launch of MissouriDashboard.com where citizens can easily track and monitor Missouri’s economic performance. This is the first economic dashboard in the nation to be launched by a state treasurer’s office. I hope you take a look at this new tool to check on our state’s economic status.
Also this week, my office is making available a booklet for Veterans and Military members – the 2017-2018 Missouri Benefits and Resource Guide. If you would like a copy please call or email my office and it will be mailed to you.
Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.