Nashville’s Metro Council is meeting Monday afternoon to consider reappointing representatives. Justin Jones In his seat in the Tennessee House, a few days after that expelled from the chamber For pre-participation Protest against gun violence.
A Republican supermajority comprising two-thirds of the Tennessee House voted last Thursday to expel Jones and his fellow Democrat, Rep. Justin Pearson, who are both black. Another Democrat, Rep. Gloria Johnson, who participated in the protest, survived the vote and was not expelled
Protests were expected at the Statehouse on Monday when the House was called back into session.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Jones said they will “continue to fight for our constituents.”
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Nashville’s Metro Council, the legislative body tasked with appointing a replacement, called a special meeting last week to fill the vacancy. Several Metro Council members told CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF they want to hire Jones to return to his seat in the state legislature.
Councilwoman Delicia Porterfield, who ran against Jones for the House seat she was ousted from, told WTVF that she stands with the will of the people and will vote for Jones to return.
“He was rightfully elected by the community, we have to support their will, and I believe 100% that our organization will vote my representative back into office,” Porterfield said.
Pearson, who represents Memphis, May be reassigned on Wednesday by the Shelby County Commission, which will then vote at a meeting.
But even if they are reinstated this week, it will only be temporary. Following the recall rule, Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, must then sign the writ of election to set the date for a future special election. Expulsions by the House are rare — only two people have been expelled from the chamber since the Civil War.
The Tennessee House moved to expel Jones, Pearson and Johnson after the trio participated in a March 30 protest at the state Capitol for stricter gun laws. A school shooting in Nashville March 27 which killed three children and three adults.
Lawmakers said Johnson was spared the same fate as Jones and Pearson because he did not take a bullhorn and address the crowd, among other reasons. But Johnson, who is white, said she survived the vote because she is a “60-year-old white woman and they are two young black men.”
“I think our presence as young black voices for our constituency, who won’t bow down, who won’t be cowed, that’s what got us noticed the day we walked into the Tennessee General Assembly,” Jones told NBC on Sunday. . “I mean, this is the first time in Tennessee history that we’ve had a completely partisan ouster by a predominantly white caucus — all but one member of their caucus is white out of 75 members — and we’re the youngest two black lawmakers in Tennessee.”
The battle in the Tennessee statehouse received national attention. Vice President Kamala Harris made a last-minute visit Jones, Pearson and Johnson traveled to Nashville on Friday to meet what some are referring to as the “Tennessee Three.” He told a crowd at Nashville’s historically black Fisk University that Harris received wild applause and several standing ovations that Jones, Pearson and Johnson were, in his words, silenced and stifled as they fought “to protect our children.”