A dispute over a piece of legislation led two Republican Louisiana lawmakers to fight it out in a bar brawl.
Rep. Stuart Bishop and Sen. Norby Chabert issued public apologies Wednesday after a punches were thrown between the two in a Baton Rouge bar, according to USA Today.
“We had a gentleman’s disagreement and settled it with our hands,” Bishop said.
The argument began on the House floor on Tuesday over a bill that wasn’t identified. Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, reportedly blocked a bill from Chabert who is chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Bishop, who said he was punched several times and did not return Chabert’s shots, said he only sustained a few bruises. No arrests were made as the two men had left the River Room by the time police arrived, according to USA Today.
“I’m sorry it happened,” Bishop said. “We’ve been friends for a long time. As far as I’m concerned it’s settled, but you’d have to talk to (Chabert).”
Both men addressed the incident and apologized to their colleagues on Wednesday as Chabert told senators, “We’re still friends and always will be friends.”
“The integrity of this body is one thing I cherish and hold dear,” Bishop told House members. “If I embarrassed any of you, I truly apologize.”
Chabert regretted that he “brought dishonor” on the chamber where his brother and father previously served.
“I grew up in this chamber and in no way would I want to disparage anyone here,” he said. “We’re both better men than that and I humbly apologize.”
— Mark Armstrong (@TvMarkArmstrong) May 17, 2018
Gov. John Bel Edwards called the incident “unfortunate” during his monthly call-in show, according to USA Today.
“They’re both good friends of mine and they are good friends with one another,” Edwards said. “Every now and then people get too passionate and things can get out of hand.
“It doesn’t exactly reflect well on the House or Senate or state government, but I think it’s something we can all get past. They’re going to continue to work together.”
Some did see the humor in the dust-up between the lawmakers.
“I think we’re going to have to cancel the annual basketball game between the Senate and the House for boxing matches,” Republican Senate President John Alario said.
— Julia O’Donoghue (@JSODonoghue) May 16, 2018
Bishop’s desk was wrapped in crime tape as a prank by his House colleagues, the paper reported.
Bishop himself joked about the fist fight, “The next time it will be dueling guns.”
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