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Committee Begins Investigating Complaint Against Kansas Lawmaker

Rep. Winn (center) before the hearing. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

An investigative committee has started looking into a complaint filed by Kansas House Republicans against a Democratic colleague.

The complaint accuses Representative Valdenia Winn of using inflammatory language during a committee hearing.  The Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, said "racist bigots” supported a bill to remove a college tuition break for some students in the country illegally.

One of the Republican lawmakers who lodged the complaint, Willie Dove, says Winn’s comments weren't appropriate, even if they didn't violate legislative rules.  


“She has a right to speak her mind, however, in that venue I think she is out of line,” says Dove.

Winn herself declined to comment on the complaint.

The committee only met briefly to outline the process and will take testimony on the complaint later this month.

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(VERSION TWO)

An investigative committee had a brief meeting Wednesday to begin looking into a complaint filed by Kansas House Republicans against a Democratic colleague. The complaint accuses Representative Valdenia Winn of using inflammatory language during a committee hearing. KPR’s Stephen Koranda was at the meeting and has this report.


(SCRIPT)
The complaint says Winn, from Kansas City, Kansas, stepped over the line when she said “racist bigots” were supporting a bill that would remove a college tuition break for some students in the country illegally.

The top Democrat in the Kansas House, Tom Burroughs, says this is a free speech issue.

“Where in American should you be limited on free speech, let alone the state Capitol?” says Burroughs.

Republican Representative Willie Dove is one of the lawmakers who signed the complaint. He says Winn does have free speech rights, but…

“Everything comes with a price of conscience. If you’re going to use those kinds of words against your colleagues, you’re doing nothing but causing problems with the entire process,” says Dove.

Winn herself declined to comment.

The investigative committee will begin taking testimony at a meeting later this month

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