- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska senator who had cybersex on a state computer can no longer effectively advocate for his constituents, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Wednesday, renewing his call for the embattled lawmaker to resign.

Ricketts said he met with Sen. Bill Kintner and once again urged him to step down after Kintner publicly acknowledged Friday that he had cybersex on the video-chatting service Skype in July 2015 with a woman he met on Facebook. Kintner contacted authorities after the woman tried to extort money by claiming she had recorded him.

Ricketts has said he initially urged Kintner to resign last year if the allegations were true, but Kintner remained in office. Democrats and some Republicans in Kintner’s southeast Nebraska district have called on him to resign, and some of his constituents have started an online petition .

Senators are considering options, such as impeaching Kintner or expelling him from the Legislature, but doing so before January would require a special session. During a news conference on an unrelated subject, Ricketts deflected questions about whether he would endorse a special legislative session to discipline Kintner.

“I would hope Sen. Kintner would do the right thing and be respectful of taxpayers,” Ricketts said. “I don’t think he can be an effective advocate for his constituents.”

A message left Wednesday on Kintner’s cellphone wasn’t immediately returned. Kintner has been fined $1,000 for misuse of state property by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, and said Friday that he planned to stay in office.

The blunt-spoken conservative Republican said Friday he had sought forgiveness from God and his wife, but declined to issue a blanket apology to his constituents or fellow senators.

Ricketts also praised Kintner’s wife, Lauren Kintner, who works as his policy research director, saying she is “one of the most capable people we have in state government” and brings a lot of experience and intelligence to her job.

Bill Kintner has developed a reputation for making inflammatory comments during his time in office. Earlier this year, he was criticized for comparing his legislative colleagues to monkeys. He also has drawn fire for railing against “homosexual bills” to promote gay rights, referring to bills he opposes as “turds” and joking that women are a mystery to him and don’t understand themselves.

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Online:

Petition website: www.kintermustresignnow.com

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