Following Diehl's resignation, what's next for Missouri House?
COLUMBIA - Following Missouri House Speaker John Diehl's resignation Thursday, MU political science professor Peverill Squire talked with KOMU 8 News about what the future of the Missouri General Assembly may look like.
"It's not unusual that someone in his situation chooses to resign," Squire said. "Obviously he was placed in the position where he was compromised. It was hard for him to maintain the respect that the Speaker of the House needs to have."
Squire says Diehl's resignation was expected, but the timing is what's uncommon.
"Well it's a little unusual. There will be an interim that will fill in Friday which will be the final day of the regular session then Republicans will have to decide who they want to have throughout the rest of the speaker's term."
Diehl's term as Speaker of the House wasn't expected to end until 2017.
In an email released Thursday afternoon Diehl said, "I have acknowledged making a serious error in judgement by sending the text messages, it was wrong and I am truly sorry. Too often we hear leaders say they're sorry, but are unwilling to accept the consequences. I understand that, as a leader, I am responsible for my actions, and I am willing to face the consequences."
Squire said it depends on the Democrats more than Republicans if the House gets any work done their last day of session.
"Well there are two questions about whether they'll be able to get things done," Squire said. "One - they have an interim speaker, will they be able to? And Senate Democrats are also unhappy with their treatment early in the week and that brought the proceedings in that chamber to a halt. So there may not be much accomplished tomorrow but it really depends more on Senate Democrats than on House Republicans."
At a press conference Thursday evening, House Republicans nominated Rep. Todd Richardson; R-Poplar Bluff as the speaker for the house. Richardson is the son of former minority leader, Mark Richardson, who resined as minority leader after a scandal of his own in 1997 after he pleaded guilty to drunk driving and child endangerment charges.
The legislature is set to have its last regular session Friday and the House is expected to officially vote on a new speaker.