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Mid-Mo senators support Chappelle-Nadal's censure

Mid-Mo senators support Chappelle-Nadal's censure

September 14th, 2017 by Bob Watson in Local News
St. Louis Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, back, listens as Senator Mike Kehoe discusses whether Chappelle-Nadal should be censured during the veto sessions at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Wednesday, September 13, 2017. The Missouri Senate voted to censure Chappelle-Nadal due to a Facebook comment she made hoping for President Trump's assassination. Chappelle-Nadal has since apologized for the comment.

St. Louis Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, back, listens as...

Photo by Mikala Compton /Fulton Sun.

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Mid-Missouri's senators on Wednesday voted for the resolution censuring Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, sponsored the resolution during Wednesday's debate — and told reporters after it passed 28-2: "(This) is the first time in history that has been done.

"I think that speaks to the seriousness of the issue."

On Aug. 17, Chappelle-Nadal wrote in a Facebook post: "I hope Trump is Assassinated." Calls for her to resign — or face expulsion by the rest of the Senate — were immediate.

Kehoe said he and other lawmakers have been asked about the situation regularly.

"How do you answer a fourth-grader who says, 'Do you have the body where the woman wants the president assassinated?'" he said. "We should be held to a higher standard — that is, calling for calm, as elected officials, right now.

"And (we should) try to set the tone for people's right to be able to speak about (why) they like or don't like a particular policy issue."

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, made it clear during the Senate's debate — and again during the news conference — passing a resolution doesn't mean the Senate has abandoned the idea of voting to expel Chappelle-Nadal.

Although some senators felt they could vote for expulsion this week, others said such a vote would be unconstitutional, because actions during a veto session are limited to votes on the bills the governor vetoed.

"We did what we could do, within the parameters of our rules and the Constitution, to not ignore the situation as it is," Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, said. "I believe that, as elected officials, we are held to a higher standard."

For an elected leader like Chappelle-Nadal to post words advocating violence against the president on social media, "so it goes everywhere," Riddle said, "is wrong."

Even though Chappelle-Nadal has apologized for making the post, Riddle said, "In our society, there are consequences."

Freshman Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, added: "I think it was necessary. I still firmly believe she should resign from her position.

"But keep in mind — it was the first censure in the history of the state (Senate). It was not an inconsequential thing."