NATIONAL NEWS

What’s next for Tennessee’s expelled lawmakers?

Apr 7, 2023, 7:51 AM

Former Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, waves to his supporters in the gallery as he delivers his fi...

Former Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, waves to his supporters in the gallery as he delivers his final remarks on the floor of the House chamber as he is expelled from the legislature Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee Republicans ousted two of three House Democrats for using a bullhorn to shout support for pro-gun control protesters in the House chamber. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/George Walker IV)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Republicans have expelled two Democratic lawmakers from the state Legislature for their role in a protest calling for more gun control. Here’s a look at what could happen next:

WHAT HAPPENED?

Republicans voted Thursday to expel two Black lawmakers who last week approached the front of the House chamber with a bullhorn and participated in a chant after joining protesters calling for passage of gun-control measures.

The protests followed the March 27 shooting at the Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville. Six people were killed, including three 9-year-old children.

GOP leaders argued that the move against Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson was necessary to draw a line against lawmakers using protest to disrupt House proceedings.

Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white, also participated in the House floor protest. She survived a move to expel her by one vote.

WHAT’S NEXT?

County commissions in each of the expelled lawmakers’ districts will choose replacements to serve until a special election can be held.

The commissions could choose Jones and Pearson, letting them return to the Capitol. The expelled lawmakers also would be eligible to run in the special elections to fill the seats.

Under the Tennessee Constitution, lawmakers cannot be expelled for the same offense twice.

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What’s next for Tennessee’s expelled lawmakers?