August 2, 2015

Missouri Senate Leader Resigning

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) is going to resign from office. In a statement Friday from Dempsey, he cites spending more time with family as his decision to step down.


Sen. Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles)

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce that my time in the legislature has come to an end. I have been honored to serve. I have been blessed in more ways than I can count, and I leave owing a great debt of gratitude to my neighbors who have allowed me to serve,” says Dempsey.  “However, my family is my highest priority, and in the proud tradition of the ‘citizen legislator’ the framers of our Republic envisioned, I now return to private life.”

Dempsey was first elected to the House in 2000, where he eventually became majority floor leader. He was elected to the Senate in 2007, becoming majority floor leader before being elected to serve as the Senate’s top leader.

Senators will elect a new leader from among their colleagues, possibly at the veto session in September.

He is the fifth lawmaker to resign in the past year. Dempsey’s resignation will be effective August 7.




Richardson: “I’m not a dope fiend.” Former Mizzou star charged with resisting arrest after 143 mph road race in St. Charles County

Sheldon Richardson (photo/NFL)

Sheldon Richardson (photo/NFL)

Former Mizzou star Sheldon Richardson, now with the New York Jets, was charged with resisting arrest on July 14th.  This came less than two weeks after he was suspended four games by the NFL for its substance abuse policy.  Police say Richardson was driving a 2014 Bentley as fast as 143 mph in a high speed road race near his home in St. Louis.  A fully loaded semi-automatic weapon was found in the car, there was a strong odor of burned marijuana coming from the vehicle and a 12-year old was among the passengers in his car.

This news came out on Thursday about an hour after Richardson met with reporters saying he apologized to his teammates and the Jets organization.

“I’m not a dope fiend, man,” he told reporters. “I apologized to my teammates and this organization. I told them they don’t have to worry about my name being in the news again.”

When this is all said and done, the St. Charles County Prosectuor’s office may go pretty easy on Richardson.

In a probable cause statement released by police, they said Richardson endangered the welfare of a child in the first degree. The 12-year-old was one of four people in the vehicle.  Richardson was the only person charged, but there are no gun, marijuana or child endangerment charges, according to the prosecutor.

Resisting arrest is a Class A misdemeanor in St. Charles County. If convicted, he could be sentenced up to a year in jail and/or fined up to $1,000.

The Jets released a statement saying they are gathering more information and it is not known whether there will be further discipline by the NFL.

Richardson was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a Pro Bowl selection last season.

Advocates speak about importance of bill to treat eating disorders

Missouri law will in 2017 require that insurance companies cover specific mental health treatments associated with eating disorders. The new legislation will put Missouri ahead of other states in fighting such diseases.

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund stands with Representative Rick Stream, sponsor of the House version of the eating disorder insurance legislation. (Photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund stands with former Representative Rick Stream. (Photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Now advocates like Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund, hope people will take advantage of it, and that can mean overcoming stigma.

“Stigma is one of the biggest non-tangible barriers to treatment,” says Haglund.

Other times, Haglund says, it can take a friend or family member recognizing an eating disorder and confronting the sufferer.

“I think it’s hard and there’s a lot of denial and frustration,” says Haglund. The people around that person need to have courage in confronting them and maybe they need to have conversations with that person multiple times before they want to get better.”

Rick Stream pushed for the law for seven of his years in the state House.

“We’ve given the tools now to the families and kids to get treatment and we hope that they’ll take them and use them,” says Stream.

He says he hopes people will take advantage of the new law, and he also talks about the stigma associated with eating disorders.

“Nobody wants admit they’ve got an addiction. Nobody wants to admit that they are doing this to their body. Anorexia and bulimia are not a natural thing,” says Stream.

Stream’s daughter, Katie, died while fighting bulimia in 1995.



Missouri home sales increase

Missouri Realtors Association CEO John Sebree

Missouri Realtors Association CEO John Sebree

Missouri is following the national trend of increased home sales with a continued jump by nearly 20% compared to June 2014. In the second quarter, there was a 23% increase in national home sales.

Missouri Relators Association CEO John Sebree says homes are selling faster than previous years.

“The number of days homes are on the market has fallen 7.4% compared to June 2014,” says Sebree.

Sebree says there has been a very diverse group of home buyers this year, with some people downsizing and others moving from their starter homes to bigger properties in order to accommodate growing families.

Sen. McCaskill to help Missouri interns who face sexual harassment (AUDIO)

Capitol cropMissouri’s U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill continues her campaign against sexual harassment of women who may be afraid to report the incidents to higher authorities: those in college, the military, and now, state government.

After talking to Missouri State Senate intern Alissa Hembree, McCaskill decided to form an advocacy group for interns who may be victims. Hembree accuses Independence Democrat Paul LeVota of propositioning her in texts and in person.

LeVota announced he is resigning August 23, but denies the allegations.  Read more from Missourinet.

Hembree sought out McCaskill, and after they spoke this week, the senator called Hembree, “an extraordinarily brave young woman.”

More from McCaskill on their conversation:

This is the latest in McCaskill’s efforts to help students identify and deter sexual intimidation and assault.

She speaks openly about her own experience with sexual harassment when she was an intern at the Missouri Capitol in the 1970’s.

“I remember decades ago, when I was facing the same situation and how I felt like I had to handle it on my own,” she told reporters Wednesday. She said she thought that the environment had improved since then for young women.

“This was like a cold bucket of water in that it made me realize that things haven’t improved in every way and that we still have this problem. It’s depressing to me.” McCaskill said.

House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, also resigned this year after he admitted to sexting with an intern. Read more from Missourinet.

McCaskill’s new effort is “not something that I’m trying to legislate, rather something that we would try to do through a not-for-profit advocacy group,” McCaskill emphasized.

In Congress, McCaskill’s proposal to fund anti-sexual assault education in schools is a part of the Senate plan to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act.