Thursday, February 02, 2017

Committee recommends expulsion for Kirby, training and restrictions for Fourkiller

The House Rules Committee investigating sexual harassment allegations against sitting representatives is recommending expulsion for embattled State Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) and sensitivity training for State Rep. Will Fourkiller (D-Stillwell) as well as a prohibition from interacting with the House Page program for one year.

The news just broke on Twitter (first posted) by @OklahomaWatch after a press conference that began at 1pm, and is still going on at this moment.

Here is the full press release:

Committee Recommends Expulsion for Rep. Kirby, Reprimand for Rep. Fourkiller

The bipartisan Oklahoma House of Representatives’ Special Investigation Committee released a report of its findings and recommendations today following a nearly month-long investigation into the circumstances that lead to the wrongful termination settlement agreement paid to a former employee in November out of House funds.

The Investigation Committee recommended the expulsion of Rep. Dan Kirby (R-Tulsa) from the House of Representatives.

The Committee also recommended that Rep. Will Fourkiller (D-Stilwell) attend sensitivity training and be prohibited from interacting with the House Page Program for one year.

Specifically, the Committee made the following recommendations regarding Rep. Kirby:

  • Expulsion from the House of Representatives,
  • Loss of Committee Chairmanship,
  • Loss of Committee appointments,
  • Bills authored removed from consideration,
  • Loss of privileges to a legislative assistant,

Specifically, the Committee made the following recommendations regarding Rep. Fourkiller:

  • Attend one-on-one sensitivity training on appropriate workplace conduct,
  • Prohibited from contact with the House Page Program  for one year (though Rep. Fourkiller will still be allowed to host student pages from his district in his Capitol office.)

“This has been a difficult process, and I am thankful for the members of the Committee who participated and meticulously investigated this matter,” said Committee Chairman Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette. “This was a bipartisan effort, and every member who participated took this matter seriously and received all of the evidence with an open mind. It was a fair and thorough investigation, and the members of the Committee believe our recommendations are appropriate.”

In addition, the Committee found that the House has the legal authority – and acted upon that authority – to expend operational funds to settle the wrongful termination claim brought by a former employee.

The Committee also recommended that the Speaker establish a bipartisan committee of members to review and vote on any future legal settlements that may arise.

House Speaker McCall yesterday acted upon that recommendation, going a step further by creating the bipartisan House Expenditure Oversight Committee and authorizing it to review and authorize all large capital and/or extraordinary expenditures that exceed $15,000.

The recommendations of the Committee will now be considered by the full body of the House of Representatives. Expulsion from the House requires a two-thirds majority vote of the body, or 68 members.


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