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OFF BEAT: Lawmakers scuffle in statehouse over workers compensation bill


A 68-year-old Mississippi House of Representatives member says he “got one lick in” before colleagues stopped his attempts to punch a fellow Democratic lawmaker during a scuffle over workers compensation legislation.

The clash reportedly came after three Democrats, including Rep. Bennett Malone, D-Carthage, changed their votes on S.B. 2576.

The employer- and Republican-supported bill would amend Mississippi's workers comp law, making it more difficult for employees to establish that an injury or death is work related while simultaneously increasing certain benefit amounts.

After the 60-56 vote favoring the bill, Rep. Bob Evans, D-Monticello, reportedly saw Rep. Malone near a statehouse elevator and implied Rep. Malone would gain campaign contributions for switching his vote in favor of the bill.

According to news reports, Rep. Malone claims his colleague loudly called him a “no good piece of sh--” in front of a crowd.

"When he said that, emotions got out of hand and I went after him," Rep. Malone reportedly said.

But other reports say Rep. Malone never connected and that he also punched a senator in the back of the head in a 2000 dispute over another bill.

As for S.B. 2576, it goes back to the Mississippi Senate to reconcile House changes.

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