The Look in Brief

Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus joins call condemning potential expulsion of Tennessee lawmakers 

By: - April 6, 2023 2:25 pm
Rep. George Brown, D-Lexington. (Photo by LRC Public Information)

Rep. George Brown, D-Lexington. (Photo by LRC Public Information)

Kentucky’s Black Legislative Caucus joined the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in  condemning the potential expulsion of  three Tennessee state lawmakers after days of turmoil at the Capitol in Nashville.

Last week, three Tennessee Democrats — Rep. Gloria Johnson, Justin J. Pearson and Justin Jones — led an impromptu protest on the House floor against gun violence in response to the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville. A former student gunned down three nine-year-old children and three adults.

Republican lawmakers filed resolutions for the trio’s expulsion from the legislature.

In an email to media members Thursday afternoon, caucus chair Rep. George Brown, D-Lexington, said Kentucky’s Black lawmakers endorsed the national organization’s statement. The NBCSL said in its statement that Tennessee House leadership “villainized” the actions of the three legislator and that the national group plans to continue its support for gun reform laws.

“I am saddened by the potential expulsion of these three legislators for exercising their First Amendment right on the chamber floor,” said Rep. Laura Hall of Alabama and president of NBCSL. “Gun reform continues to be a frontline issue in all states and we must continue to work to pass legislation to reduce the loss of innocent lives.”

The Kentucky group consists of 10 lawmakers from the House of Representatives and Senate. Kentucky’s legislature has 138 members.

After the bills for expulsion were filed, the Tennessee Lookout reported the Tennessee Black Caucus called the move “political retribution” and “morally bankrupt.”

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley has reported on local government and education at The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W.Va., and The State Journal in Frankfort. Press associations in both states have honored her work. She grew up in Greenup County in northeastern Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky where she was the Kentucky Kernel’s managing editor. She is pursuing a master of fine arts degree in writing from Spalding University.