Sunday, March 26, 2023

Disgrace in the House: Speaker McCall needs to act to quell law-breaking legislator arrogance

Proverbs 20:1 says "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Some argue that the Bible does not explicitly prohibit the consumption of alcohol, but even the most ardent drunkard has to admit the the Bible has very strong warnings against intoxicating beverages.

One of the less-illustrious members of the Oklahoma Legislature, State Rep. Dean Davis (R-Broken Arrow), is in the news - again - for an alcohol-related arrest - again.

In case you don't recall, Davis was arrested for a DUI in August of 2019. While in jail, Rep. Davis made several phone calls to elected officials, including talking to two fellow House freshmen and leaving a voicemail for Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado. He asked his legislator friends to call the sheriff or city police chief to "help him out". He told Rep. T.J. Marti (R-Tulsa) that "This is not going to help Broken Arrow at all because they just made an enemy, and that’s not good at all."

As seems typical with elected officials when facing legal problems, Davis likes to first attempt using his position as a legislator to influence law enforcement against pursuing his law-breaking misdeeds.

True to form, he pulled the same stunt Thursday morning. You've got to read this article from NonDoc: ‘You can’t detain me’: Six months after DUI deferral, Rep. Dean Davis arrested in OKC.

It should be noted, in the height of irony, that Davis and his drinking buddy, Rep. T.J. Marti, are both on the House Committee on Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances (which Marti chairs). I guess they've got a lot of experience with the topic.

More from reporter Reese Gorman:
Legislators have a membership card that contains some language on the back that they joke is a get-out-of-jail free card. It isn't, but that doesn't stop alcohol-impaired legislators from pulling it out and trying to argue their way out of arrest:

I don't often agee with House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson (D-OKC), but she's right with everything in this statement:

I tweeted out some thoughts on this Friday:

Here's the deal. This behavior is a disgrace to the Legislature as a body, and an embarrassment to the Republican caucus in particular.

House Speaker Charles McCall needs to lay down the law in the next GOP caucus meeting, and inform the full House through whatever means than out the intent and limits of legislators' very limited immunity (if you want to call it that).

The House voted to censure Rep. Mauree Turner (D-OKC) in the aftermath of her refusal to produce a fugitive hiding in her legislative office to members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol after a scuffle in the Capitol - another recent example of a legislator arrogantly presuming to be above the law.

Given Davis' now repeated offenses, accentuated by his attempts to bully his way out of trouble by abusing his legislative office, I see no other course of action for Speaker McCall and the House to take than of a similar censuring and committee stripping.

Anything less is a mockery of the privilege and responsibility of holding legislative office.


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