Oklahoma House speaker-elect pays fine nine years late

The incoming Oklahoma House leader says he was unaware a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest in 2003. The bench warrant was dropped after he paid a traffic fine.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: December 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm •  Published: December 14, 2012
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House Speaker-elect T.W. Shannon paid a traffic ticket Thursday, more than nine years after it was issued and just hours after word of the citation circulated at the state Capitol.

Shannon, R-Lawton, received a traffic citation in 2003 for driving with a suspended license in Grady County, according to court records. A bench warrant was issued in 2003 when Shannon failed to take care of the matter.

Shannon, elected to the House in 2006 and expected to be elected speaker by the full House next month, paid $290 in fines and fees Thursday, and the bench warrant was dropped. Word of Shannon's outstanding warrant began circulating in the Capitol shortly after the speaker-elect announced chairmen and vice chairmen for committees in the Republican-controlled House.

“This was news to me,” Shannon said in a statement. “I've had a valid driver's license for over a decade, and I thought I had paid all fines associated with these traffic tickets. As soon as I learned there was still an issue after all these years, I immediately paid the fine and took care of the matter.”

Shannon, 34, said he checked into his traffic record Thursday after receiving media inquires.