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OKC House Dem Calls For Leadership Removal, Apology From Tulsa Republican

Rep. Sheila Dills
September 2020 file photo of Oklahoma state Rep. Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa), from whom Rep. Mauree Turner (D-OKC) is requesting a public apology.

A freshman member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives is requesting a colleague's removal from a leadership post and a public apology for a social media post.

Rep. Mauree Turner (D-Oklahoma City) said in a Friday Instagram video that they made the requests after Rep. Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa) posted a surreptitious photo of Turner during the pledge of allegiance in the House Chamber. Dills wrote of Turner, who rises but does not place their hand over their heart during the pledge for personal reasons, "I just don't have any tolerance for people who refuse to salute our American flag. To watch an elected official on the floor of the House basically spit in the faces of the men and women who have fought and died for our freedoms is painful for me to watch."

"At the very least, if you -- in a very candid manner, if you are bold enough to publicly shame me, you should be bold enough to publicly apologize to me," Turner said.

Turner said they had also requested Dills lose her position of Majority Caucus Chair in the House.

"If you can't critically think about how your own actions affect the people that you work alongside and the people that you represent, then I really worry about your ability to critically think about how we make equitable legislation," Turner said, adding that they also requested legislators be required to undergo microaggression trainings like they say legislative staffers do.

Turner said Dills should have brought her concern to their attention to have a conversation before writing about them online.

"It won't be the last time it happens in the Oklahoma Legislature, but the hope is that we are continuously creating those open and honest lines of communication that if you have a problem with me, you take it up with me," Turner said. "You don't take it to Twitter, you don't take it to Facebook, you take it up with me."

In winning their seat in November, Turner became Oklahoma's first Muslim state legislator and the first openly nonbinary lawmaker in the U.S.

Neither Dills nor Turner immediately returned requests for comment on Monday.

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