BOONE COUNTY, Mo. - A Missouri state representative was arrested Sunday afternoon for failing to appear in court and possession of marijuana.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Jeremy LaFaver (D-Kansas City) had misdemeanor warrants from Moniteau County for failing to appear on traffic offenses. Troopers say they also found less than 35 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
During this year's general assembly, LaFaver co-sponsored a bill to reduce penalties for possessing less than 35 grams of marijuana to a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a $250 fine.
Highway patrol officials tell ABC 17 News troopers stopped LaFaver and arrested him for failing to appear in court for a ticket in Moniteau County for an expired license tag and no insurance. When troopers put him in handcuffs, they also searched his car and found a small amount of marijuana and a pipe.
"When an individual is run through the system and there's a warrant out for their arrest, no matter who they are, a representative or any individual, they need to take care of that warrant immediately," Highway Patrol Sgt. Paul Reinsch said.
LaFaver released a statement to the website PoliticMo Sunday, saying the following:
"I made a serious mistake, I apologize for it, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my behavior. I want to stress that I was not operating under the influence. I deeply regret the embarrassment I have caused my family and the people of the 25th District by this incident. I want to assure my constituents that I have received no special considerations, nor do I expect to be treated differently than any other citizen in my situation."
Since his arrest, LaFaver asked to step aside as chair of the House Democratic Victory Committee on Monday morning:
"The goal of electing Democrats to the House is too important to the middle class men and women of Missouri for my personal embarrassment to become a distraction, and I have therefore asked the Minority Leader to let me step down from the chairmanship," LaFaver said in a statement.
House Democratic leaders said they're accepting his resignation from the Democratic Victory Committee, but will not ask him to resign.
"I think that's a decision he has to decide based on what he feels is best for himself, or his family, and for his constituents," House assistant minority floor leader Gail McCann Beatty said.
The Missouri Republican Party released a different statement saying LaFaver needs to "walk the walk and take genuine responsibility by resigning from the Missouri House of Representatives. LaFaver has broken trust with the people by behaving with direct and open disrespect for the law and courts."
Minority floor leader, Jacob Hummel, is planning to take over LaFaver's spot in the Victory Committee. Democratic leaders said they're going to let the legal process run its course before they do anything else. So far, there is no indication from any reports that LaFaver is planning on resigning from the House.