, 23 tweets, 4 min read
Today’s the day.

The Arkansas House will convene today at noon to decided whether or not to expel state Rep. Mickey Gates, R- Hot Springs, who pleaded no contest in June to a charge of failing to pay his taxes. #arleg #arpx
It’ll take 67 votes to remove Gates. 59 lawmakers have told @ArkansasOnline they plan on voting in favor of removal.

More on that here: arkansasonline.com/news/2019/oct/…
For context: the last member of the House to be expelled was former Speaker John Wilson, who infamously killed a member on the floor in 1837, after a debate over wolf-scalp legislation (you read that correctly, and the full story is even more insane).

Anyways, Gates and his attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, are in this room with piles of records that Gates said prove his innocence. They’re showing them off to any lawmakers who stop by. (Gates didn’t want me taking pictures of his papers).
House members are beginning to file in for the caucus.
State Rep. John Payton has moved for a secret ballot vote on the question of whether to remove Gates.

"I think its important that we subdue our passions here today... and not be influenced by friendships, or maybe enemies or parties."
Speaker Matthew Shepherd opposes the motion.

"I think it it would be a far greater injury to this House and this institution to cast this vote in private."
The motion to cast the vote by secret ballot failed in a voice vote.
Shepherd now speaking: "Quite simply we have the power to expel a member for any reason we see fit," under the state Constitution.

He says Gates' no contest plea to not filing or paying his taxes "put the onus" on the House to expel him.
Rep. Jana Della Rosa asks why matter was not taken through the state Claims Commission.

Shepherd says its "an internal House matter." And that the law does not require members to go through any other body.
Gates is now speaking against the resolution.

He starts with a joke about how he was told in his Freshman session that the House "is not about you."

No one laughed.
Gates apologizes to his family for "the hellish nightmare that you have had to endure because of my political involvement."
Gates cracks another joke. "That's supposed to be humor, again."

Again no one laughed.
Gates is currently taking us on a tour of U.S. history that has currently taken stops at the Declaration of Independence, D-Day, the Dredd Scott decision, the Little Rock Central High School crisis, 9/11, the sinking of the Titanic... among others...
The lesson seems to be that his tax fight with the Department of Finance and Administration will end up "on the right side of history," ... I think.
"I have not been found guilty," Gates says, referring to the fact that his case will eventually be dismissed if he completes all the terms of his probation.
Responding to Shepherd's point, Gates says that if the House can vote "arbitrarily" to remove members "then none of us are safe."
After recounting the story of Daniel an the Lions Den, Gates' makes it known that he's not comparing his colleagues to the king or "conniving politicians."
Wrapping up now, Gates asks his fellow members not to consider him as they make their votes.
No one else speaks for or against the resolution. Speaker Shepherd closing now.
The House votes overwhelmingly, 88-4, to expel Mickey Gates.

Here’s the vote
Gates saying goodbye to colleagues shortly after the vote.
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