Arkansas House expels first member since 1800s for not paying taxes

Members of the Arkansas House of Representatives voted Friday to expel a member who had failed to pay his income taxes for years.

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Republican Rep. Mickey Gates became the first member to be voted out of the chamber since the 1800s. He was expelled in a vote of 88-4.

The Arkansas Speaker of the House communicated his intent to introduce the resolution to expel Gates last month after he refused to resign.

The Republican representative pleaded no contest to a felony tax charge for failure to file returns from 2012 through 2017. He was sentenced to six years of probation.

He agreed to pay more than $74,000 in taxes, penalties and interest for 2012 through 2014 and to file taxes for 2015 through 2017. He may be on the hook for more penalties, yet.

According to authorities in the state, Gates had failed to file for 15 years, but the statute of limitations is six years.

He was re-elected to his seat while charges were pending, according to the Arkansas Times.

The last time the Arkansas House removed a member was in 1837, when its speaker was expelled after stabbing another member on the House floor during a debate.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.