Tennessee Republicans have moved to expel three Democratic state representatives from the House who joined protesters during their storming of the state capitol building last week, leading chants with a bullhorn and disrupting the floor session.
Expulsion resolutions have been filed against Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville), Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville), and Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) over their actions last Thursday after about 400 people rushed into the Tennessee state capitol building in Nashville. A final vote on whether to remove the Democrats will take place on Thursday.
More video of the 3 disrespectful Dem Reps who may face expulsion over their actions this week in TN. Some details missed in the chaos: Their stunt forced Speaker @CSexton25 to go out of session, impeding the work of the legislature and they were dismissive to the Sgt. At Arms. pic.twitter.com/CiGDVksPiU
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) April 2, 2023
House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) kicked the three Democrats off of their committees and told The Daily Wire in a phone interview Tuesday that more accountability would be coming. “Here in Tennessee on Thursday, we’re going hold these three individuals accountable,” he said.
“Their actions deserved to be disciplined, and what they did was a breach of House rules, they need to be held accountable,” he said. “What they did on the House floor I have not seen happen in Tennessee or heard about.”
During a raucous protest against gun rights on Thursday, the three Democratic lawmakers went unrecognized to the “well,” where lawmakers speak on the House floor, and took out a bull horn and started leading the protesters in chants.
Republican House Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) told The Daily Wire that the disruption was unprecedented. “It’s never been that three state representatives attempted to incite a riot in the middle of the House floor. It’s dangerous, it’s inappropriate, and it silences the other 96 members,” he said.
Sexton said that the lawmakers wanted to be arrested and wanted the attention for themselves, adding that the disruption was “planned.”
The Daily Wire reached out to Jones, Pearson, and Johnson for comment.
The resolution against Jones, filed by Rep. Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville), says that he and the two other Democrats “knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions.”
Similar resolutions were filed against Johnson and Pearson by Rep. Gino Bulso (R-Brentwood) and Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) respectively.
“The basis for the resolutions is that they actually disrupted proceedings in the House,” Bulso told The Daily Wire, explaining that they broke House rules. Bulso said that Republicans would have the votes to expel the Democrat lawmakers.
“They were both inside and outside the chamber, agitating all those who showed up,” Bulso said. “These three made a decision that they were going to go ahead and focus all the attention on themselves. They were agitating and inciting the crowds outside the chamber.”
Tensions at the capitol have been high as Tennessee reels from the murder of six people at a Christian school in Nashville last week by a woman who identified as transgender. In response, Gov. Bill Lee has proposed providing funding for schools in Tennessee to have armed guards and reiterated support for a bill that would increase security measures at schools across the state.
Lamberth is confident that the school security reforms will be passed. “I want the notice to go forth, loud and clear, that any evil person that is bent on trying to harm our children in Tennessee, if you come at one of our schools here, we are going to have enough security around our schools that that evil person will be dead before they hit the front door,” he told The Daily Wire.