State Rep. John Thompson has agreed to apologize for calling a Republican colleague a racist during a floor debate at the State Capitol last month as part of a deal Friday to dismiss an ethics complaint against him.
Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, submitted the complaint last month, citing a June 19 floor debate in which the St. Paul Democrat interrupted him and twice called him a racist.
The complaint triggered a rare meeting of the House Ethics Committee last week to consider Lucero's allegations against Thompson, who has been embroiled in controversy since a July 4 traffic stop in St. Paul.
Friday's resolution comes a week after the committee first met to discuss the complaint and after it agreed to move its proceedings to this week so Thompson could have an attorney with him.
The agreement to apologize to Lucero when the House reconvenes came after a week of discussion between the two and members of the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Jim Davnie, a Minneapolis Democrat.
"Apologizing isn't always easy and you've done that and I thank you for that," Davnie told Thompson on Friday.
Davnie then addressed Lucero: "There are times when we feel that we have been affronted in some way that accepting apologies is not always easy — and you have done that, so thank you for that."
Thompson is still facing calls from DFL state leaders — including Gov. Tim Walz and House Speaker Melissa Hortman — to resign amid reports of domestic violence allegations between 2003 and 2011.
Thompson told reporters at a news conference outside the State Capitol earlier this week that he would not resign. His wife, meanwhile, defended him against allegations that he struck and choked her in front of children, saying that she refused to let him resign.
Hortman said Monday that she still believed "it's in the best interest of John Thompson, his family, and the institution for him to resign."
Lucero's complaint has been the only formal ethics complaint filed in the House against Thompson. The Ethics Committee has the power to recommend expulsion or censure of a House member after taking public testimony on a complaint.
"I believe it is important that matters relating to Representative Thompson proceed through the Ethics Committee process and that the House as a whole makes a final decision on any consequences that it deems appropriate," said Hortman, of Brooklyn Park.
Stephen Montemayor • 612-673-1755