Embattled Kansas lawmaker arrested for second time in month

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A 21-year-old embattled Kansas lawmaker was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving — his second arrest in less than a month — and is facing fresh calls for his resignation or removal from office.

A Kansas trooper arrested Aaron Coleman around 1 a.m. Saturday on Interstate 70 near Lawrence, the Kansas Highway Patrol said. Coleman was taken to the Douglas County Jail, where he bonded out hours later.

Coleman did not immediately return phone and email messages left Monday morning by The Associated Press seeking comment.

At the time of the arrest, Coleman was already out on bond from an Oct. 30 domestic battery arrest. In that case, he allegedly pushed, hit and spit on his 18-year-old brother in a fight that erupted because the brother was going to get baptized, according to court documents.

The Kansas City, Kansas, Democrat has been embroiled in controversy since before he took office after being elected in 2020 and has acknowledged past abuses against girls and young women. A legislative committee reprimanded Coleman in writing in February over those abuses.

Last month, Coleman also was banned from the Kansas Department of Labor’s offices over allegations of disruptive behavior. Coleman said he was trying to help constituents.

On Monday, six freshman Democratic House members filed a formal complaint with House leadership alleging that Coleman had failed to comply with terms outlined in the February warning, The Kansas City Star reported. The complaint triggers the appointment of a House committee to investigate. That panel can recommend disciplinary action, including censure or expulsion from the Legislature. Both would require a two-thirds vote of the House.

Both Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, a Republican, and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly have joined the chorus of those calling for Coleman to resign. If he refuses to resign, Kelly said, the Legislature should remove his from office, saying his latest arrest “is further evidence that he is not fit to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives.”

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