Reps. Justin Jones, right, Justin Pearson, bottom, and Gloria Johnson, left, bring a megaphone onto the Tennessee House floor on March 30, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)
The Tennessee House of Representatives voted along party lines to expel two young Black lawmakers, Democrats Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, from its body for leading a floor protest over gun violence one week ago, but Rep. Gloria Johnson survived expulsion by one vote.
The expulsion vote against Jones, D-Nashville, was 72-25, and 69-26 against Pearson, D-Memphis. It needed 66 votes it pass.
The vote against Johnson, D-Knoxville, was 65-30, one short of the number needed to expel as seven Republicans voted to keep her.
The trio is accused of violating the House rules of decorum when they took over the speaking podium to lead chants with a crowd protesting the lack of action by lawmakers on gun violence after six were killed — including three children — in a mass shooting at a religious school in Nashville.
Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfressboro, was the only Republican to vote against kicking Jones out. Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, was present but did not vote on Jones’ expulsion resolution.
The expulsion hearing for Jones went on for nearly two hours.
Reps. Jody Barrett, R-Dickson; Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma; Bryan Richey, R-Maryville; Lowell Russell, R-Vonore; Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna; Baum and Whitson voted against removing Johnson. Reps. John Gillespie, R-Memphis, and Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, were present but abstained from voting.
The expulsion hearing for Johnson lasted 90 minutes.
Baum, Gillespie and Richey voted against expelling Pearson. Whitson was present but did not vote to remove Pearson.
The expulsion hearing for Pearson lasted 90 minutes.
Twitter thread of the expulsion hearing
OK, so now in the expulsion hearings @JRClemmons, an attorney, is trying to make the point that the video the GOP just showed “was in direct violation” of house rules disallowing members to shoot video on the floor.
“Are we going to punish them as well?”
— Anita Wadhwani (@anitawadhwani) April 6, 2023
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