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Arkansas senator calls colleague 'dumbass' during resolution debate

Misty Castile
Fort Smith Times Record

One Arkansas State senator called another a "dumbass" while debating a proposed resolution on Tuesday.

During a debate on SCR6, which would commemorate "the accomplishments of African-Americans throughout America's history," Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) chose to use his time to address comments by Sen. Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) regarding the need for resolutions. 

During Garner's statements, Sen. Stephanie Flowers (D-Pine Bluff), who was attending the session virtually, spoke over Garner saying "He's not speaking on the bill."  

Flowers continued to talk before being told her microphone would be turned off. 

"I'm gonna cut it off" she replied. 

When Garner attempted to continue his remarks, Flowers interrupted again, calling Garner a "dumbass".  

The resolution failed on a 4-22 vote. 

Following the exchange, Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) motioned to censure Flowers, saying "This needs to stop. You cannot call people derogatory names." 

The censure was passed through a voice vote. 

"I'd don't think that's something that something that should be censured," Flowers said.  "I think that if they can walk around the chamber without their masks like our rules say, and walk around with guns under their shirts, that's something that should be censured."

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"Sen. Flowers has a long history of outbursts and cussing," Garner said when asked for comment. He called Flowers an  "ineffective legislator" and said "she gets attention by making outbursts like this." 

On Wednesday, Flowers was suspended from serving on two committees for three days because of the outburst.

The Arkansas Senate voted 25-4 to suspend her would forfeit her privileges on the Judiciary Committee and the City, County and Local Affairs Committee from Feb. 15-17.

Both Flowers and Garner abstained from the vote. 

In 2019, a video of Flowers during a Senate Judiciary Committee went viral when she spoke out about "stand your ground" laws.  Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) then committee chair, told her to stop she replied, "What the hell you going to do? Shoot me?"