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Two Missouri House members separated during budget debate

The chamber's observation galleries were filled with school children at the time of the altercation.


Rep. Tim Jones (R-Eureka) held back by fellow Republicans.



Tensions are running high in the Missouri House this morning.

Two lawmakers had to be restrained on the House floor amidst a debate about the state budget.

The fracas came during consideration of the first of 13 budget bills, when Rep. Jeff Roorda, a Barnhart Democrat, criticized Republican amendments aimed at reducing state employees' salaries.

As Roorda spoke, gesticulating wildly and raising his voice, a reply came from Rep. Tim Jones, a Eureka Republican.

Jones was not near a microphone, but his voice could be heard from across the chamber, particularly when he began shouting "You're a liar! You're a liar!" and gesturing sharply at Roorda.



Rep. Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) wags his finger.


As Jones began moving toward Roorda, other lawmakers and staffers stepped between the two, restraining both and eventually hustling Jones out of the chamber.

Business on the floor abruptly stopped, while House Speaker Ron Richard conferred with Roorda and leaders from both parties before speaking from the dais to call for civility and decorum.


Roorda eventually apologized, and added that he was upset because Jones had implied that he, Roorda, had intentionally skipped difficult votes on the budget. In fact, Roorda said, he was attending a friend's funeral.

Aftert that, debate continued.

Jones did not speak on the floor following the incident, but did offer an apology via Twitter, writing, "I apologize for losing my cool. I do not apologize for calling Rep. Roorda on the carpet for his constant name calling and partisan baiting."

Lawmakers completed amendments to the budget yesterday and now are debating the final approvals that will send the spending plan to the Senate for further consideration.

Video of the commotion (the video might not be processed yet, watch it here under the title KRCG: 2 House members separated during budget debate) :



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Tags: missouri
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