Rep. Harvey Santana Faces Sanctions After Allegations of Misconduct

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Michigan state Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, was removed from his two committee posts by House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, on Friday in response to allegations of repeated "unprofessional" and "inappropriate" conduct, the Detroit News reported. The sanctions will be effective Tuesday, according to ClickOnDetroit. He will no longer be allowed to serve on the Energy and Technology Committee or the Transportation Committee.

* Reports of unprofessional conduct first surfaced in December when Rep. Santana allegedly almost got into a physical altercation with Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit. While witnesses said Santana had "lunged" at Nathan, House officials said the incident "really wasn't anything" even though Rep. Roy Schmidt, D-Grand Rapids, had reportedly stepped in-between the two, according to the Associated Press.

* The decision follows what the Detroit Free Press dubbed an "outburst" by Santana after a House vote Thursday. Although House Sergeants were reportedly called to intervene, there were no reports of physical violence.

* The vote was in regard to HB 5688, which will give cities the right to establish public lighting authorities. The bill passed 79-27, according to the Detroit News.

* Santana was reportedly upset because he was not allowed to formally voice his concerns regarding the bill while it was being discussed before the official vote.

* Minority Leader Richard Hammel, D-Mount Morris Township, was reportedly the target of Santana's outburst and was also the person to formally request that he be stripped of his committee appointments, MLive reported.

* Bolger said he agreed to Hammel's request because Santana had established a track record of inappropriate conduct, particularly in regard to fellow members of his political party.

* Santana widely criticized fellow Democrats and the process of HB 5688. He charged a "backroom deal was made with the Judas' of the Democratic bunch," and he was being punished for trying to represent his constituents and their best interests, according to MLive.

* Santana is up for re-election. He will face two Democratic challengers Aug. 7. The winner will face Republican Rene Simpson in November.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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