Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Speaker Resigns; He'll Work as Consultant for Candidates, Others

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Speaker Resigns; He'll Work as Consultant for Candidates, Others

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY - Speaker Steve Tilley, who helped Republicans build a historic majority in the Missouri House, resigned Monday, five months before his term ends, but told colleagues he "will not be far away."

Tilley, 41, said he was leaving early to work as a political consultant for candidates and others with a stake in public policy.

"I choose to leave early because I did not want to be a paid consultant while serving as the speaker of the House," he wrote in a letter to colleagues.

An optometrist from Perryville, Tilley said he also would continue to practice optometry, which he has done part time while serving as speaker.

Once a rising star in the Missouri Republican Party, Tilley raised more than $1 million to run for lieutenant governor before suddenly dropping his bid last year. Tilley, who was going through a divorce at the time, cited a desire to spend more time with his two teenage daughters.

His letter to colleagues on Monday again cited his daughters as "key factors" in his decision to leave before his term ends in January.

"Over the past eight years, I sometimes put the interest of the (Republican) Caucus and the House ahead of my family; however, my decision to resign early is a decision that I made with my daughters and puts my family first."

The most immediate impact of Tilley's early departure will be the need for House Republicans to find an additional Democratic vote next month to override several of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's vetoes.

Republican leaders plan to try to override Nixon's veto of a bill that would have allowed Missouri employers and insurers to opt out of providing coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization if such procedures ran contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

They also hope to override his veto of a bill that would have allowed cities and counties to resume collecting local sales taxes on vehicles purchased out of state.

An override requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber - 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate. Republicans have more than enough members in the Senate.

The GOP controlled the House 106-57 before Tilley's exit. …

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