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100 years ago in Olympia: Senators get into face-slapping fight over rabid dogs

Jim Kershner

From our archive, 100 years ago

A feud on the floor of the Washington state Senate devolved into a face-slapping contest between two senators.

It ended only after the sergeant-at-arms intervened.

At issue was a bill providing for quarantine measures against rabid dogs. The bill was introduced by Sen. Ed Brown, of Whatcom County, who said it came from the Senate Committee on Dairy and Livestock.

This came as a surprise to Sen. Howard Taylor, of King County, who also sat on that committee. He said he never saw it or voted on it.

Brown explained he had taken the bill to all the individuals on the committee – except Taylor – and received their approval. He said Taylor’s carping criticism indicated a desire to run things.

“If the gentleman from King is to be the Great I Am of this Senate, then I am ready to resign right here,” Brown said. ‘If he is going to run things, then I am going home.”

After the Senate adjourned, the men continued to carp at each other.

“Before anybody knew what was happening, Senator Taylor landed a hard slap on Brown’s face,” the paper said. “Senator Brown then endeavored to swing with his arm, evidently picking out a spot on the King County senator’s head for a landing place.”

The fight was immediately broken up, which was probably a good thing for Sen. Brown. He was impaired by a broken leg suffered in a recent accident.

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