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Tennessee House Passes Bill Banning the Reappointment of Disgraced Politicians!


CNS NewsRepublicans in the Tennessee House advanced a plan Monday to bar local governments from reappointing expelled state lawmakers for behavior. This is one of several limits being explored after the GOP’s high-profile expulsion proceedings against Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson last April.

Barring what transpired after Jones and Pearson were reappointed and returned to work. Last week, a Legislature staff attorney told House lawmakers in a committee meeting that the bill presents constitutional difficulties and suggested a constitutional amendment.

Rep. Johnny Garrett, a Goodlettsville Republican who sponsored the bill, claimed the Tennessee Constitution allowed the modification. “I believe that the language is absolutely clear,” Garrett replied. Speaker Randy McNally says the Senate will wait for the House’s action before discussing toughening ousted lawmakers’ limitations.

Pearson, who suggested many changes that were rejected, called it government overreach that stripped local leaders of constitutional power. Before Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton declared his statements out of order, Memphis resident Pearson stated, “Truthfully, I am so tired of the retaliatory, racist reaction of bills targeting Rep. Jones and myself.”

Jones, of Nashville, did not speak on the bill before Republicans ended the debate and voted. Monday, lawmakers voted to cut his comments during two other proposals after he was deemed out of order twice. The Republican resolution on the U.S.-Mexico border, which Jones said encourages white supremacists to come to Tennessee, was criticized by lawmakers bipartisanly when neo-Nazis marched at the state Capitol.

Jones then stated, “Some may argue that this is a neo-Nazi rally happening every time we convene in this body,” which was voted out of order. Jones and Pearson, two young Black MPs, were dismissed for protesting gun control on the House floor in April, days after a Nashville Christian elementary school shooting murdered six.

The public gallery and outside chamber demonstrators chanted with them and Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson. White Johnson avoided expulsion by one vote after her legal team argued her role was lesser because she didn’t use a bullhorn. The “Tennessee Three” Democrats garnered national notice and funding.

Republicans also propose constitutional amendments to voters that would bar ousted lawmakers from running again. One suggestion calls for a four-year moratorium. Another would make it permanent. Months after being reappointed, Pearson and Jones comfortably won special elections.

Tennessee House Passes Bill Banning the Reappointment of Disgraced Politicians!

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Johnson hopes her momentum continues in her uphill race for Republican U.S. Marsha Blackburn. Johnson is also seeking statehouse reelection. Republican senators are also pushing a bill to prevent Johnson from running for numerous posts in one election. Having numerous elected posts would be prohibited. Republicans say Johnson isn’t targeted.

After the expulsions, Tennessee House Republicans implemented new rules this year that limit bill debate and bar “out of order” members from speaking for two days for repeat infractions. Jones sued Republicans over his expulsion and a temporary special session House rule that silenced him for part of one day in August.

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