New Rules

03.31.13

Lawmakers Gone Wild: Sinks for Muslims, Racial Rants, and More

From claiming low-slung bathroom sinks are “for Muslims” to emailing racial rants to constituents, read our weekly rundown of politicians gone off the rails.

Holding Firm

Dave Agema, a Republican in the Michigan Legislature, made national news this week when he posted an article on his Facebook page titled “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals.” The article calls homosexuals, among other things, “filthy,” “pedophiles,” and more likely to be murdered than “the average person.” Members of both parties with differing views on same-sex marriage quickly slammed Agema’s actions and called on him to resign. Agema has so far refused, maintaining that the article was worth sharing.

High-Speed Assemblyman

Nevada lawmakers voted to expel Assemblyman Steven Brooks, a Democrat, on Thursday after he was arrested for a second time since January on charges of resisting arrest and throwing objects. Calling him “potentially dangerous” and claiming that they did not feel safe with him in the building after reports that Brooks had threatened his colleagues, a Nevada Assembly Select Committee voted 6-1 to make him the first state lawmaker ever to be expelled. Hours later Brooks was arrested for a third time this year after a high-speed chase down the freeway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Washing Their Hands of It

Members of the Tennessee Legislature were alarmed this week when a new sink was installed in the men’s restroom as part of a $16 million renovation of the State Capitol. A number of lawmakers were reportedly concerned that the sink, which is at ground level and in one of the corners of the restroom, was installed for Muslims, who are required to wash their face, hands, and feet before praying. But the saga was eventually put to rest when the legislative administration director chimed in: “The floor-level sink installed in the men’s restroom outside the House Chamber is for housekeeping use ... It is, in layman’s terms, a mop sink.”

A New Argument Against Gun Control?

Alabama State Rep. Joseph Mitchell, a Democrat, presented a new argument against gun control in an email to a constituent earlier this week. Mitchell, who represents a heavily African-American district, apparently annoyed by a heated email from a constituent asking him to not propose any new gun laws, responded by writing: “Your folk never used all this sheit to protect my folk from your slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous, snaggle-toothed, backward-a**ed, inbreed, imported criminal-minded kin folk.” So far, Mitchell has yet to apologize for his remarks.

Abortion-Pill No-Go

State legislatures in Mississippi and Indiana this week voted on laws that would restrict abortion-inducing pills. The Indiana bill, which was approved 33-16 by the state Senate in February and passed by a House committee this week, requires that women seeking the pill have an ultrasound first. The provision was ultimately dropped from the bill. But in Mississippi, the state House of Representatives advanced a slightly different variation of the bill this week. That bill requires a physician be present when the first of the two pills are administered.

Austin Tree Choppers

A war in the Texas state Capitol is brewing over which ones to cut down and which to protect. The current law in the city, similar to those in most other cities, allows local authorities to decide which trees to preserve and keep out of the hands of developers. But this week Republican state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst put forward a bill limiting the city’s right to preserve trees, which led to another more extreme bill that would take away the city’s power to make laws preventing the chopping of trees.

Something strange happening in your state that we missed? Shoot us an email at luke.kerrdineen@newsweekdailybeast.com.