NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones will reclaim his seat in the state House of Representatives with the backing of Nashville's Council, which voted to reappoint him four days after he was expelled for leading chants for gun reform with a bullhorn on the chamber floor.
Shortly after the council vote, Jones led a crowd of hundreds in a march to the Capitol, where he was sworn in, reported the Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network.
In one of its first legislative actions following a shooting at a Nashville elementary school that killed six people, the House Republican supermajority ejected Jones with a 72-25 vote for defying House decorum — making him the first House member to be removed from elected office for a decorum violation.
Nashville's progressive-leaning council, responsible for filling the vacancy, overwhelmingly voted Jones back into the District 52 House seat Monday as an interim representative until a special election can be held to permanently fill the position. Jones is eligible to run for reelection.
House members called for the expulsion of Jones, D-Nashville, Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, and Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville — dubbed the "Tennessee Three" — after they approached the podium between bills during the session without being recognized, breaking chamber rules.
Pearson, who also used a bullhorn during the floor protest, was expelled in a 69-26 decision after hours of fierce debate. But the House failed by one vote to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to oust Johnson, who is white. Jones and Pearson are Black.
In Shelby County, at least one of 13 county commissioners has vowed to similarly reappoint Pearson to his house seat. The commission will meet Wednesday to consider the matter.
Within minutes of taking the oath, Jones re-entered the House Chamber from which he had been expelled just four days before. Crowded galleries broke out in cheers as he walked to his desk on Johnson’s arm.
Protesters gathered at the legislative plaza on Monday to await the council's vote, chanting "No Justin. No peace."Read More (...)
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