- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A senator facing a second charge of domestic abuse will be suspended from all of his committee assignments, Louisiana Senate President John Alario said.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/29Vfjmp ) Alario, a Republican from Westwego, said Tuesday that Democratic Sen. Troy Brown’s suspension will remain in place until the matter is resolved.

“Domestic violence is not to be tolerated one inch,” Alario said. “The suspension will remain in place until this whole matter is resolved. I don’t agree with what he has been accused of and I don’t like it all.”

Brown was a member of the committees on environmental quality, health and welfare, revenue and fiscal affairs as well as transportation, highway and public works

Alario, while on vacation in Alaska, also said the full Senate might consider further action against Brown, of Geismar, when the chamber convenes in April. He stopped short of calling on Brown to resign.

“I don’t have the power to expel him or to have him resign,” Alario said. “That would be a choice that he would have to make on his own.”

Brown refused Tuesday to comment on the situation.

Alario said he hadn’t spoken to Brown since reports surfaced that the senator had been arrested Monday on domestic violence charges. He said he doesn’t plan to talk to Brown unless Brown reaches out to him.

“He needs to get some professional help and I want to give him ample time to do that,” Alario said.

Alario is the first member of the Senate to speak publicly about Brown’s domestic violence charges. Several senators - including those who have sponsored legislation to combat domestic violence - have remained silent. The Louisiana Democratic Party also has declined to comment on Brown’s arrest.

There is a process for disciplining senators. The senators can vote to launch an investigation of a colleague that can lead to expulsion. The investigation is led by a committee that includes every senator except for the person being targeted.

The expulsion of a state senator is rare. The secretary of the Senate, Glenn Koepp, said a senator was last expelled in 1981. Sen. Gaston Gerald, an East Baton Rouge legislator was convicted in federal court for extortion, was being held in a Texas prison when the Senate voted to kick him out of the body.

Advocates for survivors of domestic violence said they want Brown out of the Legislature after his second arrest in eight months. The first was in November when authorities said Brown punched a woman in the eye during an argument inside the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

The advocates said they hoped legislators would start calling on Brown to step down this week.

“I would encourage Mr. Brown to take some time away from the people’s business to deal with his personal business,” said Beth Meeks, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “In light of what our state is already dealing with, it is imperative that our leaders maintain a strong and viable example of nonviolence.”

Brown was arrested Monday on charges of misdemeanor domestic abuse battery after police say he became angry with his wife and bit her on the arm.

Brown has pleaded not guilty in the November case. He said he had no recollection of the event because he suffers from short-term memory loss connected to a car accident years ago. His court date is set for September.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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