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Ex-House speaker Kent Williams pays $100 to replace microphone broken in wine bill debate

February 25th, 2014 1:45 pm by Associated Press

Ex-House speaker Kent Williams pays $100 to replace microphone broken in wine bill debate

In this photo taken Thursday, state Rep. Kent Williams speaks on the House floor in Nashville. Williams said Tuesday he has paid $100 to replace the microphone damaged later that day when he threw it on his desk. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE — Former House Speaker Kent Williams said Tuesday he paid $100 to replace a microphone that he tossed aside when his comments were cut off last week.

An offer to prepay another $100 to cover any future damage was turned down, he said.

Williams, an independent from Elizabethton, threw the microphone in anger when he wasn't allowed to explain his reasons for opposing a bill to allow supermarket wine sales in Tennessee after the chamber passed the bill Thursday.

House Clerk Joe McCord announced at the end of Monday night's floor session that the chamber's policies require members to replace or repair any damaged property. For example, former Rep. Julia Hurley was required to pay for her desk to be refinished in 2011 after she carved her initials into it.

Williams was House speaker from 2009 to 2011. He is retiring from the Legislature this year and running for Carter County mayor.

He said Tuesday that he was surprised the microphone broke. The House said there were several options for replacing the microphone, ranging from $89 to $135.

"I said, 'Let me pay you for two,' and they wouldn't let me," he said.

McCord laughed off Williams' offer to "keep one in reserve."

"We operated strictly on a pay-as-you-go basis," McCord said.

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