The House Ethics Committee will hold a November preliminary hearing involving a western Missouri lawmaker’s controversial Facebook post.
The Missouri House Ethics Committee met briefly in closed session Monday afternoon, before announcing they’ll hold a preliminary hearing involving State Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola.
Ethics Committee Chairman Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, is also the House Majority Floor Leader. Cierpiot spoke to Missourinet after Monday’s hearing.
“We will have that (hearing) next month,” Cierpiot says. “Warren has 21 days to answer and then we will have a hearing sometime after that, probably late November, and we’ll deal with it then.”
House Assistant Minority Floor Leader Rep. Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, notes that under House rules, the preliminary hearing cannot take place any sooner than 21 days.
The House Ethics Committee’s vote to hold the upcoming hearing was unanimous, according to House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City.
Monday’s closed session was mainly procedural.
“Today’s (meeting) only was to say did the complaint meet all the things that are listed on the rules, and we decided it did,” Cierpiot says. “And so then we go forward to a preliminary meeting where we will actually deal with the complaint.”
Love, who’s in his third House term, represents Cedar, Benton, Hickory and St. Clair Counties.
He wrote in August on Facebook that he hoped that the vandals of the General Sterling Price Confederate statue at the Springfield National Cemetery would be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”
Love has apologized for the post, saying he does not support violent acts toward the vandal. He says he was calling for the person to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Love spoke to Missourinet Monday evening, and apologized again for his words.
He says he was probably the only Missouri lawmaker to call the vandalism out as a crime, but did it “in a very crude way.”
Love added that his southwest Missouri constituents and veterans he’s spoken to support him, and he reiterates his call for the Legislature to pass a “Veterans Heritage Protection Act.”
Love notes his father served in World War II, and that his 34-year-old son has served in Afghanistan.
Minority Leader Beatty blasted Love’s post during the September veto session, and she criticized it again Monday when she spoke to the Capitol Press Corps.
“Representative Love and I have had conversations,” Beatty says. “I understand his passion about the Confederate monuments and I hope he understood my concerns in the opposite way.”
Beatty tells Missourinet she has not spoken to Love since the August Facebook post, adding that she would speak to him if he reaches out to her.
Beatty says she would tell Love how disappointed and frustrated she is, with the comments.
Click here to listen to House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty’s comments to the Capitol Press Corps on October 16, 2017:
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and House Ethics Committee Chairman Mike Cierpiot, which was recorded on October 16, 2017 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City: