(The Center Square) – Tempers flared in the Ohio, a day after members voted to remove former speaker and representative Larry Householder from office.
The 75-21 vote to expel Householder followed a vote to suspend the rules, which passed by a single vote, and a long floor debate, which included Householder and Majority Leader Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, who argued the House had no authority to expel the federally indicted former speaker but, instead, should hold an impeachment hearing.
Seitz, who has spent the past month pushing to change Ohio voting laws, apparently became angered Thursday and began yelling over remarks from Minority Leader Emilia Sykes concerning the 2020 election during a House Government Oversight Committee hearing on House Bill 294, which Democrats call anti-voter.
Seitz, at one point, screamed, “You can’t interrupt me madam, You can’t interrupt me.” Twice during Seitz’s remarks, committee chair Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, called for the committee to stand at ease. After the final break, Sykes motioned for adjournment, saying she was verbally harassed and feared for the safety of members.
“We were given a refresher on what constitutes disorderly conduct [Wednesday]. Now, a day later, a member of the Republican leadership team explodes in a fit of rage during committee, verbally attacking, screaming and lunging at me and my fellow Democratic members during a hearing on his anti-voter bill. We will not be intimidated. We will not back down,” Sykes said. “This behavior should not and cannot be tolerated by any member, let alone by someone in a leadership position.”
In a statement issued later Thursday afternoon, Seitz said Sykes falsely accused him and his joint sponsor of saying Ohio’s 2020 election did not have the highest voter turnout. He said a member of the minority caucus actually made that claim in May during questioning for House Bill 294.
“In my attempt to set the record straight, I was interrupted by Leader Sykes,” Seitz said. “As a distinguished member of the Ohio House, I would expect she would know better than to interrupt a fellow committee member when questioning a witness. I remained in my seat and expressed my frustration. Leader Sykes later mischaracterized my actions as lunging towards her. Much like her earlier accusations, she is falsifying reality.”