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Intense Altercation Between High-Ranking Republican, Democrat Following House Session

Andy Chow
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus)

It's not unusual to see exchanges between lawmakers get heated. But a face-to-face altercation inside the House Chamber between the Republican speaker and a high-ranking Democrat reached an intense new level. 

Just seconds after Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger banged the gavel to end a marathon House session, Democratic Representative Kevin Boyce was up on the speaker’s platform engaged in a confrontation.

To understand why Boyce rushed up to the speaker’s seat, you’d have to go back about 20 minutes earlier.

The session was approaching midnight and Rosenberger believed Boyce was getting off topic during his floor speech. Boyce was voicing his concerns over major changes to the prison watchdog known as the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee. First you’ll hear Boyce then Rosenberger.

“The original amendment included the desolving of the original...”

“Would the member please, the gentleman please address confine his remarks to the Senate amendments currently at hand,” said Rosenberger.

It was obvious Boyce was upset.

“Mr. Speaker thank you for that. I knew you were going to gavel me out of order for whatever reason I just knew you were going to enjoy gaveling me out of order whenever you have the opportunity, so, fine,” said Boyce near the end of Wednesday's House session.

After a few more bills and speeches the House adjourned and officially went on summer break.

That brings us back to the altercation where reporters could see Boyce nose-to-nose with Rosenberger. Boyce could be seen cocking his head from side to side and staring intensely at Rosenberger. The altercation was so heated that the sergeant-at-arms had to be called over.

The sergeant-at-arms stayed right behind Rosenberger who seemed to stay pretty motionless while talking in calm voice. After a few seconds the exchange was over and the speaker came down from his seat to talk to reporters, a common practice after every House session.

Rosenberger said Boyce was still angry about being gaveled out of order.

“But clearly it’s not an appropriate thing to come up and act out as he wants to continue to do,” Rosenberger said.

But Boyce said he was up there to just get an explanation.

“Well I asked him for the reasoning or the rule as to why I was gaveled out of order speaking regarding to the amendment. And I felt that his response was dismissive and perhaps disrespectful and so I responded.”

I asked Boyce if Rosenberger said or did anything else that he deemed out of line.

“He did and I won’t repeat what he said to me, I’ll let him repeat that but yeah I felt that what he said was out of line and disrespectful and so I responded,” said Boyce.

Rosenberger told reporters that he was simply clarifying why he gaveled Boyce out of order.

Boyce added that the lawmaking process can be emotional and that there are times when exchanges get heated. However he did offer an apology saying the two parties still need to work together.

Boyce is running for the Franklin County Commission and won’t be in the House after this year.

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