A repentant Rep. Mark Martin apologized today for heckling a fellow member on the House floor in the middle of the cigarette tax debate Thursday.
The Republican lawmaker from Prairie Grove interrupted Rep. Gregg Reep, D-Warren, while Reep was presenting House Bill 1204, the bill to raise the tax on tobacco products to fund a trauma system and other health programs. The hotly debated bill passed in a 75-24 vote, receiving just enough “yes” votes to reach the necessary three-fourths majority.
As part of his presentation, Reep was explaining that Arkansas balances its budget when Martin shouted “It’s the law!” Martin was referring to constitutional mandate that the Legislature approve a balanced budget. House Speaker Robbie Wills of Conway later cautioned the membership about breaches of decorum.
At the start of today’s House session, Martin took the floor and said his behavior the day before did not live up to the House’s standards or his own.
“Sometimes even the smallest mistake can set us on a slippery slope that we don’t even realize actually will push the whole institution down,” Martin said.
House members applauded his remarks. Wills later termed the apology “very appropriate.”
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