Angry confrontation at Capitol prompts apology from Louisiana lawmaker
BATON ROUGE - Republican Senator Stewart Cathey Jr. gave an apology after a spat with fellow lawmaker Regina Barrow, a Democrat, at the State Capitol on Monday.
The confrontation happened after a contentious legislative hearing. Barrow claimed that Cathey put his finger in her face in the hall outside the Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee and cursed her out.
"He had literally almost passed me by, and turned around, pointed his finger in my face, and cursed, with his finger in my face with this real irate temper and tone of voice," Barrow told WBRZ.
USA Today reported that Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome also got involved.
"Stewart Cathey came within two seconds of getting his butt whipped," Barrow told USA Today. "If [the mayor] hadn't walked up, I was about to charge him."
The situation triggered an apology from Cathey on the Senate floor later that same day.
"I may have gotten a little aggressive with one of my colleagues. For that I do apologize," Cathey said at the podium Monday.
Barrow said she accepted his apology but that she was upset that Cathey downplayed what happened.
"I will accept his apology but... it was almost insulting to me when he said 'I was a little disrespectful.' That was not a little disrespectful... Putting your finger in someone's face and cursing them is not a little disrespectful," Barrow told her fellow legislators.
The confrontation stemmed from a debate over a proposal authored by Cathey, from West Monroe, which would redistribute about $7.5 million in tax money that is currently going solely to East Baton Rouge.
Cathey argued that the tax is collected on the value of railcars throughout Louisiana but that EBR receives all the revenue. Barrow agreed that the tax deserved a closer look but said that Cathey should have approached capital area lawmakers about it before submitting his bill.
Cathey has postponed a committee vote on the legislation until next week.
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