The story of two lawmakers who walk into a bar sounds like the start of a corny joke.
But laughs were apparently in short supply when two members of the Louisiana Legislature, state Rep. Stuart Bishop of Lafayette and state Sen. Norby Chabert of Houma, got into a fistfight at a downtown Baton Rouge bar Tuesday night.
Bishop and Chabert, both Republicans, apparently sparred over a dispute about some legislation earlier in the day. Police were called to the scene, but no arrests were made, according to media reports. Bishop told the Monroe News-Star that Chabert “punched me several times.” Bishop said he didn’t return the blows and was only bruised in the incident.
Both lawmakers have expressed regret over the incident, with Bishop apologizing to his fellow legislators on the House floor.
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With the Legislature in constant session these days, tempers are bound to be ragged, though that’s no excuse for coming to blows. This is the kind of story that promises to go viral, cited as the latest evidence of the continuing decline in civility across America.
We’re encouraged, though, that Bishop and Chabert acknowledged the incident as a lapse in manners and apparently seem ready to move on.
That’s evidence, perhaps, that standards of private and personal conduct aren’t dead just yet.