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Vermont lawmaker apologizes for repeatedly pouring water in her colleague's bag

People fill long rows of desks in an ornately decorated House chamber.
Zoe McDonald
/
Vermont Public
The Vermont House considered overriding bills vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott during a veto session on Monday, June 17, 2024.

MONTPELIER (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker from Vermont has apologized for repeatedly pouring water into a Democratic colleague's bag, after he caught her doing it on video.

State Rep. Mary Morrissey publicly apologized to state Rep. Jim Carroll, colleagues and the citizens of Vermont from the House floor on Monday. Both are from Bennington, a town of about 15,000 in the southwestern corner of the state.

"I am truly ashamed for my actions," Morrissey said of "her disrespectful conduct" toward Carroll. She said she had apologized directly to Carroll and would be working toward "resolution and restoration through out legislative process."

In response, Carroll told the chamber that he heard the sincerity in her voice but that he had to be frank, saying: "For five months, I went through this," and Morrissey had a choice each time she did it.

"It was torment," he said.

A man in a suit and purple tie sits facing sideways. A booklet, smartphone, and glasses sit on his desk behind him.
Zoe McDonald
/
Vermont Public
Rep. Jim Carroll listens to another lawmaker speak in the Vermont House during the veto session on Monday, June 17, 2024.

Carroll told The Associated Press that the tote bag he hangs in a hallway at the Statehouse was soaked a couple of times per week in January and February. Then, after he was charged with driving under the influence in February and returned from rehab, his bag was soaked almost daily, he said.

"It was relentless," Carroll said, adding that he was fairly confident it was Morrissey, who he said often mistreated him. He set up a video camera behind a scarf on the opposite wall and captured Morrissey pouring water from a glass into the bag on April 23 and April 26. He then showed the footage to House Speaker Jill Krowinski, who confronted Morrissey with it.

"This is a truly disturbing situation that is at odds with our legislative practices," Krowinski, a Democrat, said in a statement. She added that "the integrity and decorum of our legislative proceedings and of legislators are of paramount importance, and any actions or behaviors that compromise these values will be thoroughly investigated and addressed."

Morrissey hasn't said why she did it, and she didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Carroll told fellow lawmakers on Monday that the first time he and Morrissey sit down to talk will be awkward, "but we have to start somewhere."

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