JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri House ethics hearing over a Republican lawmaker who called for the vandal of a Confederate monument to be hanged has been rescheduled following pushback from a top Democrat.
Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Austin on Monday said he rescheduled the hearing on fellow Republican Rep. Warren Love for Jan. 4. The hearing was about an August Facebook post in which Love said that he hopes those behind the vandalism of the Springfield, Missouri monument “are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”
Love has said he was using old cowboy jargon for saying he hopes the vandal is prosecuted, but Democrats have said his words evoke images of lynchings of black people.
Love’s hearing had been planned for the Friday before Christmas, which drew sharp criticism from House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty.
She had raised concerns about the timing potentially burying it from public attention and asked for it to be held after lawmakers return to the Capitol in January for their annual legislative session.
Austin, who recently took over leadership of the committee after its former chairman was elected to the Senate in November, said he originally scheduled the hearing for Friday to expedite proceedings. But he said he rescheduled after learning the ranking Democrat on the committee could not attend.
McCann Beatty said the January date is “definitely a more appropriate time.” That’s the day after session begins.
“I’m hoping that it will be taken seriously,” she said.
Austin said Love, McCann Beatty and another Democratic lawmaker who filed a complaint will have a chance to speak during the upcoming hearing, but the committee won’t take public testimony.
The committee doesn’t have the final say in whether to expel, punish or otherwise reprimand Love but can make recommendations to the full House.
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