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State Rep. Juandalynn Givan apologizes for outburst in House chamber

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File-This May 18, 2017, file photo shows Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, addressing the House of Representatives at the Alabama State House building in Montgomery, Ala. Givan apologized for an outburst on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in which she repeatedly shouted at the House speaker. She issued a statement over the weekend to "humbly express my apologies to my colleagues." The Birmingham Democrat said she also wanted to challenge fellow lawmakers "to avoid actions that encourage division and oppression." (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)
By Kim Chandler
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A state lawmaker apologized for an outburst on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in which she repeatedly shouted at the House speaker.

Rep. Juandalynn Givan issued a statement over the weekend to “humbly express my apologies to my colleagues.” The Birmingham Democrat said she also wanted to challenge fellow lawmakers “to avoid actions that encourage division and oppression.”

“In light of a recent incident that I felt directly challenged my constitutional rights and those of all Alabamians I responded in a manner that did not reflect my character or political office,” Givan said.

Video from Alabama Public Television showed Givan repeatedly shouting at House Speaker Mac McCutcheon during Thursday debate. The speaker said the outburst “included a stream of harassing statements and obscenities.”

The incident began after Givan was gaveled down for breaking decorum rules when she referred to Republican colleagues as “cowardly” while criticizing how the Republican majority runs the chamber. Givan shouted back that she has a “right to say what I’m saying.” McCutcheon turned off her microphone as Givan continued to shout from the House floor.

After the House took a recess, the confrontation continued at the speaker’s desk. Givan then left the chamber with security officers behind her.

McCutcheon released a statement saying the incident was “disappointing to me as it was shocking.”

“Conduct such as this should never be tolerated from anyone and it will not be tolerated from House members as long as I’m speaker,” the speaker said.

McCutcheon said he would have used House rules to have Givan removed for the day, had she not voluntarily left.