If we’re not part of the solution, we are part of the problem
In his e-newsletter distributed today, Rep. Kendrick announced to his constituents his work over the last few months in beginning to address the permissive culture in the State Legislature:
The time for addressing ethics reform in the Missouri state legislature is long overdue. In response to recent, serious indiscretions in the legislature, the new Speaker of the House announced the formation of a working group to examine internal policies regarding House interns.
After appointment to the Working Group, I took it upon myself to draft a revised Intern Handbook and accompanying policy additions to the House Member Handbook as first steps.
In preparing this draft over the last few months, I have consulted with interns and former interns, university officials responsible for interns, Title IX specialists, and attorneys. The draft I submitted to the group is meant to clarify appropriate relationships among House members, staff, interns, and others in the Capitol and safeguard interns while enhancing their educational experience. It also covers the means by which complaints can be filed, to whom they should be made, and the lines of authority for determining repercussions to the House member involved. It is clearly not a sufficient remedy to the ‘permissive culture’ in the legislature, but it is an important and necessary start.
As the Representative of three educational institutions in Columbia, and a former employee of two of them, I understand the value of internships to the education and career development of students.
Clarifying House policies––and acting on them––will both protect interns while working to restore the integrity of the House of Representatives. Given the recent circumstances in the Legislature, it is imperative that we act now.