Amid sex scandal, some state representatives take stand for due process

BBState Representatives Brian Banks (D-Detroit), Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) and Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit) declined to vote to expel state Representatives Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell).
Both have been escorted from the chamber.
“I am in opposition to any actions which circumvent democracy and due process and I believe that this has been a flawed process. We have an opportunity to truly advance bipartisan integrity with a more in-depth investigation,” said Gay-Dagnogo.
Detroit Caucus members who are not voting are Reps. Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit) and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (D-Detroit)
“A vote to expel a legislator is the most serious vote any of us will take, and we should take that vote knowing that a process was followed and that those facing expulsion have been given due process, but that is not what has happened in the House of Representatives,” said Banks. “This has been a rushed judgment.”
Democratic members of the Select Committee to Examine the Qualifications of Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser tried to gain more information, but their requests were continuously denied by the committee’s Republican chair.
“Key testimony was struck from the record, and important witnesses were not called before the committee. I do not believe that there is enough information at this time to vote to expel,” said Banks.
Questions to those testifying were ruled out of order, and in an attempt to introduce a resolution requesting subpoena power for the committee in order to bring Courser and Gamrat’s former staffers in to testify was voted down.
Democrats have also repeatedly called for the investigation to be turned over to the state’s Attorney General to conduct a criminal investigation, but Republican representatives have refused.
“I am honored to serve in the Michigan House. I hold this institution in great esteem, and while I take the actions of representatives Courser and Gamrat seriously, I, along with other members of the Detroit caucus, cannot in good conscience take this drastic step of expelling them from this body with the omission of testimony by all parties in this investigation,” said Gay-Dagnogo.

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