TN House discusses vote to expel Memphis Rep. Justin J. Pearson, two other Democrats after gun reform protest
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New from Nashville Monday night — a vote that puts the possible expulsion of three Tennessee lawmakers on the table.
Monday’s vote comes in the wake of protests for gun reform at the state capitol.
Republican leadership is targeting Memphis Representative Justin J. Pearson and two other Democrats.
Representative Pearson was sworn into office nearly two months ago, and a vote to expel him and two other Democrats who Republicans say broke House rules was moved to Thursday.
“They are trying to take away the vote and the voice of our community,” said Rep. Pearson.
In a historic move, the Republican-led Tennessee House of Representatives will look to expel three of its members, Memphis Rep. Pearson, Knoxville Representative Gloria Johnson, and Nashville Representative Justin Jones.
“We spoke up to advocate for gun reform,” said Representative Pearson. “To stop the epidemic of gun violence in our state and the punishment for doing that is expulsion from the House. This is wrong. It is unjustified. It is undemocratic.”
It comes after thousands of Nashville students and parents rallied at the state capitol last week demanding gun reform.
Pearson, Johnson, and Jones joined in on the House floor with a bullhorn.
The House had to recess and was unable to do business for about an hour.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton told Action News 5 on Thursday in a statement:
“There are rules and decorum that every member must follow – both in committee rooms and on the House floor. Three Democrat members chose to willfully ignore these rules and decorum in an attempt to shut down today’s proceedings by insurrection, but they failed in their actions will be addressed very soon.”
Thursday, the three Democrats told The Tennessean after the incident that their access to House members’ office building and parking garage was “restricted.”
Johnson and Jones were stripped of their committee assignments Monday.
House Lawmakers voted 70-22 to move a resolution to expel Pearson to Thursday.
Protestors in the gallery could be heard yelling and chanting.
Speaker Sexton quickly called for state troopers to clear the gallery.
Audio feed of the House session soon cut off and a camera remained stationary on the voting screen.
The House eventually voted to also move resolutions for expulsions for Johnson and Jones to Thursday.
“I want to talk about this Holy Monday that God is not pleased with injustice and that the light will shine that not matter what you do to us, we will not bow down,” said Rep. Jones.
Jones’ microphone was eventually cut off.
“Representative Jones you will have your chance to defend yourself on Thursday,” said Speaker Sexton.
The House has not expelled a member since 2016, after a former representative was accused of sexual misconduct.
Former Senator Katrina Robinson from Memphis was expelled last year after she was convicted on federal wire fraud charges.
The House will be back in session Thursday morning.
Click here to sign up for our newsletter!
Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.
Copyright 2023 WMC. All rights reserved.