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Oklahoma House scolds two members

Public reprimands are issued against Rep. Mike Reynolds for interrupting a minister speaking to the House and against Rep. Randy Terrill for allegedly using profanity and allegedly making a threat against the House speaker.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 15, 2011
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“This is part of the business we're in,” said Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City. “If you're too soft and you're too weak to put up with that, you don't belong in here.”

House staff could find no records of when the House issued its last public reprimand.

“This event occurred in my office,” Sullivan said. “My staff is employed to do a job. They're not here to be vomited on by a member coming in spewing their bile, disgusting language.”

Terrill, in speaking against the reprimand, asked why previous transgressions went unnoticed. He mentioned members bringing alcohol on the House floor, having alcohol in their offices and having sex with a staff member before his microphone was cut off shortly before his allotted time expired. Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon, who was in the speaker's chair, said Terrill had strayed off the subject.

Terrill also argued House rules require that any comment in which a member may be reprimanded has to be made on the House floor or in a committee or subcommittee meeting. Armes ruled the House has the authority to reprimand members.

Later, Terrill said the reprimand was an attempt by Steele to “bully, harass, intimidate and threaten the conservative members in the caucus into going along with their moderate to liberal agenda.” Terrill said it's also an attempt to make Reynolds and him the “whipping boys.”

Steele said that isn't the case. “The events that transpired today were based purely on the members' action and the merits of the behavior,” Steele said afterward. “I can assure you that it has nothing to do with other than making sure that members are held accountable for their actions.”

Alleged disrespect

Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, brought the public reprimand complaint against Reynolds, who asked for a point of order while the Rev. Tom Hopkins gave a sermon Thursday.

Hopkins, senior pastor at Southpark Community Church in Tulsa, is also an author and a speaker on living healthy lifestyles. He was talking about ways to live healthier when Reynolds complained that he was lobbying.

Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said then that Hopkins' comments were words of encouragement and told Hopkins to continue.

“I've never ever witnessed anything so disrespectful,” Kirby said Monday. “You do not disrespect a man of the Word.”

Reynolds said he apologized to Hopkins on the House floor. But he said he refused to sign a written statement, which irritated Kirby on Monday.

“Rep. Kirby after caucus said he would hit me right in the mouth,” Reynolds told House members.

“That deserves a reprimand.”