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Lawmakers apologize after legislative disagreement turns into bar fight

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BATON ROUGE - Two lawmakers' argument over legislation came to blows in a downtown bar Tuesday night.

According to a report from the News Star, State Rep. Stuart Bishop and state Sen. Norby Chabert were the two involved in the fistfight at the River Room on Laurel Street. Bishop said Chabert got several punches in during the confrontation.

"We had a gentleman's disagreement and settled it with our hands," Bishop told the News Star. 

The fight reportedly stemmed from a disagreement over legislation at the state capitol earlier that day.

"He's not happy with me over a bill," said Bishop, who blocked a bill from Chabert as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Bishop claims they are longtime friends with similar priorities. He added that he wasn't hurt and did not return Chabert's punches.

"I'm sorry it happened," Bishop said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's settled. But you'd have to talk to [Chabert]."

Police were called to the bar, but the two had already settled their squabble and left the business by the time officers arrived.

After news of the late-night fisticuffs broke Wednesday morning, legislators decided to have a little fun at their colleagues' expense. Photos from the capital show crime scene tape wrapped around Bishop's desk, an apparent jab at his and Chabert's Tuesday night encounter.

Both Representative Bishop and Senator Chabert later took to the floor independently Wednesday to address the incident.

"I apologize if I did anything to upset y'all or make y'all look bad, because the integrity of this body is one thing that I cherish and I hold very dear." 

“There aren’t any words that you can say in a situation like this that can redeem you," Chabert said. "It’s something you never have to live with, but when you do, you own it.”

Bishop joked that next time it would "just be dueling guns".

The owner of the bar says no harm was done and both men would be welcome back to the business.

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