Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona Credit: Mississippi House

The Senate Rules Committee chairman declined to take up a resolution Monday that called for the resignation of Rep. Karl Oliver, who wrote in a Facebook post last month that those removing Confederate monuments “should be lynched.”

The resolution, which was first filed in the Senate by Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, called for the resignation of Oliver.

In the House, Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, D-Gulfport, filed a resolution Monday for Oliver’s expulsion from the Legislature.

The resolution by the chairperson of the Black Legislative Caucus was expected to be addressed when the House returned later in the afternoon to take up Senate appropriation bills.

The resolution calls for a two-thirds “vote to permanently expel Representative Karl Oliver from the Mississippi House of Representatives due to the incendiary and racially offensive public statements he made regarding “lynching” of “leadership” responsible for removal of Confederate statues in New Orleans.”

The resolution cites a section of the Mississippi constitution that states the House and Senate can punish members for “disorderly behavior,” and expel a member with a two-thirds vote.

Resolutions typically flow through the regular committee process. Simmons’ resolution was sent to the Senate Rules committee Monday morning.

Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton Credit: Gil Ford Photography

Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, the Rules chairman, said his committee would not consider the resolution, effectively killing the item.

Burton also is the Senate President Pro Tempore, the highest ranking senator as voted by his colleagues. He has served in the Legislature since 1992.

It was not immediately clear why Burton declined to have his committee consider the resolution.

“(Rep. Oliver’s words) were certainly unacceptable,” Simmons said. “They put national attention on the state of Mississippi — attention, as you all know, that we do not need.”

“I’ve been here six years, and I’ve never had anyone, as a member of this esteemed institution, to use the words that were used by Karl Oliver,” Simmons said.

In a Facebook post in May, Oliver wrote: “The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

The comment was immediately met with bipartisan condemnation. Oliver issued an apology two days after writing the post, saying “I deeply regret that I chose this word.”

House Speaker Philip Gunn revoked Oliver’s vice chairmanship of the House Forestry committee.

“They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole,” Gunn said in a statement hours after the post garnered national attention. “Using the word ‘lynched’ is inappropriate and offensive.”

Oliver said Monday that he had no comment in response to Simmons’ resolution.

Democratic leaders issued a stern statement after the post, but until Monday, no leader in either party had called for Oliver’s resignation.

Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.