BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Tempers flared on the Alabama House of Representatives floor Thursday when Republican House Speaker Mac McCutcheon turned off the microphone while State Representative Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) was speaking.
The heated exchanged happened while the House was considering “sunset bills."
The argument captured by Alabama Public Television shows Givan complaining that bills were not being explained clearly.
“I refuse to stay on the plantation," Givan said firmly into the microphone. "… we put these bills on the board, at this point we don’t know what we are voting on. We don’t know what the issues are. We don’t know what the questions of the day are. We don’t know anything. Half of the time when you all stand at the microphone, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
However, it was during the statement, “When I stand, I’m going to tell the truth when I stand at this microphone. Not like my cowardly Republican colleagues,” when McCutcheon slammed his gavel and instructed the clerk to cut Givan’s microphone.
The pair exchanged words for several minutes.
In the video, McCutcheon tells Givan she called out members of the legislature by name describing the action as inappropriate.
Givan said she raised her voice because McCutcheon cut her microphone while she was speaking, which she described as “racially based disrespect.”
“I'm a female. I am a black woman. I speak my mind and I'm not going to back down," said Rep. Givan.
Givan said she has a constitutional right to free speech.
“I was elected by the people to be able to come to Montgomery to represent them and their voice and to speak my peace. And for me to be depicted as a black who is just angry and upset ... no, I will not accept that,” Givan said.
Givan released a statement on the exchange Saturday saying:
Watch our full interview with Rep. Givan below.