The Missouri House on Wednesday censured a member for the first time in state history.
Representatives voted 140-3 to take action against Rep. Wiley Price, a St. Louis Democrat who allegedly had sex with an intern and tried to cover up the details.
A report was released to the public stating that Price shared with his legislative assistant that he had sex with an intern and Price attempted to coerce his assistant into lying to an investigator as well as the committee. Under the terms of the censure, Price must be removed from committees he serves on, he cannot serve in leadership or have an intern and he must pay $22,500 to cover the investigation’s costs.
According to Trevor Fox in House communications, the only time the House has ever expelled a member was John Sampson of Callaway County in 1865.
Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Republic, led an effort to have Price expelled. He fought back tears as he said that publicly condemning Price does not go far enough. Taylor said Price committed perjury, and charges should be pursued.
“Censure is a slap on the wrist,” he said. “The representative has disgraced the honor of this great institution. This hasn’t been about the left and the right or Republicans and Democrats. It’s right vs. wrong. It’s about holding one of our own accountable when the actions are deplorable. And whether or not you believe there was a sexual relationship with the intern, OK, maybe there wasn’t. But it was the coverup. It was everything else that happened. It was the committing a Class E felony.”
Taylor cited House policy banning inappropriate relationships with interns.
“We should all take into consideration the rules and the House policy that we adopt,” he said. “If we don’t do anything, we should get rid of those rules. They mean nothing. These policies absolutely and unequivocally prohibit these type of relationship. If we merely censure the representative, we are sending a loud and resounding message that nothing has changed in this body. What message does this send to every LA (legislative assistant) in this body? What message does this send to every parent of an intern? What message does this send to every female legislator serving now and that wants to serve in the future?”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice