published Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Ex-speaker in TN pays $100 to replace broken microphone

  • photo
    In this Feb. 20, 2014, photo, state Rep. Kent Williams speaks on the House floor in Nashville, Tenn. Williams, I-Elizabethton, said today that he has paid $100 to replace the microphone that was damaged later that day when he threw it on his desk after he was prevented from making comments about a bill to allow supermarket wine sales.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — 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 today 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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