The Arkansas House of Representatives will meet on Friday, Oct. 11 at noon to consider a resolution to expel Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, from membership.
Gates had been charged with not filing state tax returns from 2012 through 2017, but had worked out an agreement with Garland County prosecutors to reduce his charges to one count of not filing and paying income taxes. Gates will pay nearly $75,000 in back taxes, penalty and interest and serve six years of probation. A hearing later this year could add to more payments or charges.
Last week, Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, filed a resolution, HR 1079, making the case that the Arkansas Constitution under Article 5, Section 12, provides that each chamber of the General Assembly has the power to expel or discipline a member with the concurrence of a two-thirds vote by the body.
Shepherd’s resolution states that by entering a plea of no contest to a single charge of violating state law for failure to pay or file a tax return, a felony, Gates violated the public trust. Shepherd also argued that under Act 894, which was approved earlier by the legislature in the recent 2019 session, a person convicted of public trust crime is ineligible to hold or run as a candidate for constitutional office under Article 5, Section 9 of the state constitution.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has called on Gates to resign from his office. Gates has previously said he did not plan to step down.