Long hours and frayed emotions led to a shouting match on the Missouri House floor as state representatives began final consideration of the 13 bills that make up the $23 billion state budget.
Tension mounted as the third ranking Democrat in the House, Minority Whip Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart), harshly criticized Republicans, accusing the majority party of revising history in the remarks about the economy. Roorda’s tone built into a shout. Rep. Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, charged toward Roorda, confronting him.
“If you’ve got something to say, then you stand up and…,” Roorda was heard saying prior to his House floor microphone being cut.
Jones shouted at Roorda, “You’re a liar!” a number of times.
Representatives from both sides of the political aisle had to physically restrain the two. They then forced both Roorda and Jones into the members lounge in the back of the House chamber.
House Speaker Ron Richard, a Republican from Joplin, attempted to restore order, gaveling and calling for order to be restored.
Roorda later apologized.
“I lost my cool, I apologize for that,” Roorda told colleagues. “As I was speaking on the budget, I was accused by another member of walking on critical votes yesterday.”
Roorda explained he was absent, because he was attending a friend’s funeral.
Jones also returned to the floor and apologized.
“So, for disrupting the decorum of the body, I do apologize for that, Mr. Speaker,” Jones said. “But, again, I do not apologize for defending my caucus and for defending my budget chairman.”
After the ruckus, the House calmly approved the budget and sent it to the Senate. AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]