Missouri House Democratic Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty of Kansas City is skeptical proper attention will be given to controversial Facebook remarks from a Republican lawmaker.
She expressed outrage in an open letter Monday that a House Ethics Committee hearing over comments from Representative Warren Love of Osceola was scheduled for Friday, three days before Christmas.
McCann Beatty thinks Republicans are minimizing the importance of remarks she considers racist.
“We’re at a point now in Missouri that we have to say ‘We don’t allow discrimination on racism in Missouri’, and their response doesn’t say that at all,” said McCann Beatty.
The meeting was rescheduled for January 4th just hours later McCann Beatty released her open Letter. She remains suspicious of Republican motives.
Representative Love posted in August that he hoped 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.”
McCann Beatty compared lawmakers’ reaction to Love with response to Democratic Senator Maria Chappelle Nadal of University City, who hoped for President Trump to be assassinated on Facebook.
“When an African American legislator made inappropriate comments, everyone was in arms and wanted her to resign,” McCann Beatty said. “She was promptly removed from her committees. When a white legislator did the same thing, we heard absolutely nothing from that side of the aisle. And absolutely nothing has happened.”
Both Chappelle Nadal and Love made their comments in August within two weeks of each other. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agreed to strip Chappelle Nadal of her committee assignments.
In mid-September, the chamber voted overwhelmingly to censure her during the legislature’s annual veto session, when it considers whether to override decisions made by the governor.
The House Ethics Committee held a closed hearing on October 16th, after which it announced it would hold a preliminary hearing in November to deal with Representative Love over his remarks. Republicans and Democrats voted unanimously to stage the meeting which never materialized.
Scheduling may have been complicated when the Ethics Committee Chairman, Republican Mike Cierpiot of Lee’s Summit was elected to the State Senate in a special election in early November.
His chairmanship was reassigned to Republican Representative Kevin Austin of Springfield. Austin’s office announced last Friday it had scheduled the hearing for this Friday, December 22nd.
It postponed the meeting until early January only a couple of hours after McCann Beatty released her letter Monday, saying it was accommodating the wishes of committee Vice-Chair Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, who said she was unable to be in attendance Friday.
McCann Beatty contends Republicans could have avoided the scheduling conflict if they would have consulted beforehand with Democrats on the panel.
For his part, Representative Love claims he’s apologized for his words, saying he does not advocate violence toward the vandal. During an October interview with Missourinet, Love said that he would tell McCann Beatty he is sorry and that he cannot undo the words, adding that he has also apologized to members of Missouri’s Legislative Black Caucus.
The House Minority Leader thinks Love’s overtures ring hollow, and says he’s developed a pattern of making racial statements. “This is not the first time that Representative Love has made those kinds of comments,” said McCann Beatty. “He previously has referred, in a hearing, to African Americans as Negroes in 2017.”
The rescheduled hearing for 8:30 a.m. January 4th will take place quickly after lawmakers gavels in for the 2018 legislative session on the Wednesday, January 3rd.