But Wilson and Oliver have tried to force the bill through without a sign-off from a committee, relying on a more literal interpretation of the delegation’s rules to try and buck tradition.
The duo continued their efforts during Wednesday’s meeting, and an argument over rules and procedures devolved into shouting and name-calling.
A majority of the present delegation members ultimately voted that Wilson and Oliver were not acting within the rules.
But along the way, Rep. Vernon Jones called Rep. Mike Wilensky a “chicken[expletive]” more than once. And Oliver fired a shot across the bow as she left the room.
“You don’t approve of ethics,” she told the representatives who didn’t vote in her favor.
Rep. Doreen Carter — who had previously pleaded for a civil discussion — recoiled at the accusation, saying she’d tried to be patient with the way things had been handled. Carter said Oliver was the one without ethics, then turned to a nearby reporter and repeated her statement, clapping after each word for emphasis.
“Mary. Margaret. Oliver. Has. No. Ethics,” she said.
In a subsequent discussion with a smaller group of legislators, cooler heads prevailed to some degree. The committee being established to review ethics proposals may soon meet for the first time.
Then the real debates will begin.