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By Hulsey

A RESOLUTION to expel Justin Jones from his seat as a member 
of the House of Representatives of the One 
Hundred Thirteenth General Assembly of the 
State of Tennessee elected by the Fifty-second 
Representative District.

WHEREAS, Article II, Section 12 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offence; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free State"; and

WHEREAS, all members of the House of Representatives must comply with the Permanent Rules of Order of the Tennessee House of Representatives for the One Hundred Thirteenth General Assembly—including, preserving order, adhering to decorum, speaking only with recognition, not crowding around the Clerk's desk, avoiding personalities, and not using props or displaying political messages; and

WHEREAS, during the House Floor Session (19th Legislative Day) on March 30, 2023, Justin Jones of Davidson County, along with Gloria Johnson of Knox County and Justin J. Pearson of Shelby County, did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions; and

WHEREAS, at approximately 10:49 AM, Representative Jones and his colleagues, having gathered at Representative Johnson's desk, moved in unison to the well and began shouting without recognition; and

WHEREAS, once gathered in the well and called out of order, Representative Jones and his colleagues proceeded to disrupt the proceedings of the House of Representatives from approximately 10:50 AM until approximately 11:42 AM; and

WHEREAS, during this time, Representative Jones and his colleagues shouted, 
pounded on the podium, led chants with citizens in the gallery, and generally engaged in disorderly and disruptive conduct, including refusing to leave the well, sitting on the podium, and utilizing a sign displaying a political message; and 

WHEREAS, during this time, Representative Jones and Representative Pearson used a bullhorn to amplify their protestations; and

WHEREAS, these actions were done in open session in the presence of, and witnessed by, the members and staff of the House of Representatives; and 

WHEREAS, it appears to the satisfaction of this Body that Representative Jones's conduct on March 30, 2023, constitutes disorderly behavior and justifies expulsion; and

WHEREAS, such disorderly behavior on the part of Representative Jones reflects adversely upon the integrity and dignity of the House of Representatives of the State of Tennessee, places a cloud upon the action of this Honorable Body, and is inconsistent with the duty of a member of this Body; and

WHEREAS, it is deemed in the best interests of the people of the State of Tennessee and this Body for Representative Jones to relinquish his seat as a member of the House of Representatives; and

WHEREAS, Representative Jones has been given advance notice of the contents of this resolution and has been afforded the opportunity to debate the resolution on the floor of this House prior to its passage; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, that, pursuant to the authority under Article II, Section 12 of the Tennessee Constitution, this Body hereby expels Justin Jones from his seat as a member of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Thirteenth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee elected by the Fifty-second 
Representative District for his disorderly behavior occurring on March 30, 2023, and declares the Fifty-second Representative District seat vacant.

HR-65 Rep. Justin Jones expelled from the Tennessee House Vote  72-25

HR-64 Rep. Gloria Johnson - Motion fails to expel from the Tennessee House Vote 65-30

HR-63 Rep. Justin Pearson expelled from Tennessee House Vote 72-65  

In the last 157 years, Tennessee's House has expelled two lawmakers, which requires a two-thirds vote: In 1980, after a representative was found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office, and in 2016, when another was expelled over allegations of sexual harassment. 

Since the March 27 Covenant School shooting that killed six people, including three 9-year-olds, the Tennessee General Assembly has resisted calls to enact gun restriction legislation. The House has 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats.  Republicans hold the supermajority in both chambers.

Rocked by two weeks of unrelenting mass protests demanding legislative action to curb gun violence by young people, last Thursday Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson — whose districts are in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis— interrupted the legislature by chanting “No action, no peace” on the House floor. According to the House expulsion bills their actions interrupted legislative business although Rep. Pearson said the House was in recess at the time. 

House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, compared the events on March 30 to "at least equivalent, maybe worse" than the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which left a protestor dead, over 100 police officers injured and millions of dollars of property damaged.

Sexton called their actions “unacceptable” and a violation of House rules of decorum and procedure. He revoked their ID access to the State Capitol building and stripped two of the three lawmakers of their committee assignments.

Sexton, against the House rules released a video of the protests as evidence of their "so called" wrongdoing and tagged Donald Trump. Moreover, serious due process issues surround this expulsion, which was the most extreme measure taken.      

In the last 157 years, Tennessee's House has expelled two lawmakers, which requires a two-thirds vote: In 1980, after a representative was found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office, and in 2016, when another was expelled over allegations of sexual harassment. 

White State Representative Gloria Johnson who survived her expulsion motion by one vote, said without equivocation that "it had something to do with race." Prior to the expulsion votes Johnson was called into HR and told that if she resigned, she could keep her health care benefits. If she was expelled, she would lose them. Neither Representatives Jones nor Pearson were ever called to HR at all to advise them of the implications of the expulsion votes or their rights. 

​Justin Jones, 27, was one of the youngest members of the House before his expulsion on Thursday. He won election in November to represent parts of Nashville. A graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, he made a name for himself locally as a community organizer. He has held sit-ins in the State Capitol and, in the summer of 2020, led a 61-day protest against racial injustice outside the building that included demands for the removal of a bust of a Confederate general.

Mr. Pearson, 28, won a special election by a landslide in January to represent parts of Memphis. A native of the city and graduate of Bowdoin College in Maine, he is the son of an educator and a preacher. Mr. Pearson gained prominence when he successfully opposed a crude oil pipeline proposed for South Memphis.

Gloria Johnson, State Representative in House District 13, is a retired Knox County school teacher with 27 years' experience educating special needs children. While teaching a student was shot and killed in the cafeteria of her school. Her experience with this tragedy brought her to the frontlines of this fight with Jones and Pearson, and the students and parents across Tennesse that are demanding action to stop gun violence in schools.    

What Happens Next:

Special elections will be held to fill the seats of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson. They will be able to run again in the special election and be re-elected to their seats. 

Local governing bodies in each district can appoint temporary representatives to hold the seats until the special elections are held. Multiple members of the Nashville Metropolitan Council, which oversees Nashville, have pledged to nominate Mr. Jones to his seat as a temporary appointee. The Shelby County Commission can do the same in Memphis. 

However, the Republican controlled legislature will do everything it can to prevent their return to the House. Indeed, it's already started. Tennessee Republican legislators are threatening to strip Memphis and Nashville of state funding if the Democrats return Jones and Pearson back to the state legislature.    

Something special--something big is happening in the Tennessee Rising. That amorphous thing called the Black Civil Rights Establishment and Black Democrats are now scurrying to catch up with the two Justin's who emerged as cause celebs literally in a 24-hour news cycle. 

The Civil Rights Establishment and Black Democrats got left behind by Black Lives Matter 2.0 after George Floyd's public execution. They are desperate to catch up and not let power keg metastasize under independent Black upstarts like Representatives Jones and Pearson. How desperate is the Biden camp? As we update this reporting, Vice-President Harris just touched down in Nashville in Air Force Two. 

Normally a statement of support from a sitting President for two freshman state representatives in a local struggle is sufficient to stroke egos and inspire loyalty to the team. But Jones and Pearson don't appear to be your garden variety politicians. 

With the February Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll showing just 37% of Democrats indicating they want a second term for Fighting Joe, their camp is leery of any Democrat outbreak not under their control. A political prairie fire like Nashville can take on oxygen and spread like wildfire at the drop of a match.  

Joe Biden has a Black problem when it comes to enthusiasm for his reelection in 2024. That enthusiasm gap is especially pronounced among Black youth who still have a stone in their shoe for his support for the 1990s Crime Bill that resulted in tens of thousands of Blacks being incarcerated. Nor are Black youth particularly impressed with Biden's anemic efforts on voting rights and criminal justice reforms.

Jones and Pearson are not likely to support the eccentric Marianne Williamson or anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as the Democratic presidential nominee. But if someone like 'Big Gretch' --Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer--was drafted nationwide by grassroots Democrats, the support of young firebrands like Jones and Pearson could change the entire dynamic of the Black vote. That's why Harris was parachuted in on Air Force Two. The Biden camp has to maintain contact with this youthful multi-racial insurgency inspired by Representatives Jones, Pearson, and Johnson. 

On behalf of the New Black Nationalists Network, we congratulate the Tennessee Three for spearheading this struggle on behalf of Tennessee's youth who need and deserve visionary leadership now more than ever. We trust that wherever the wings of this epic struggle carries them, they will stay true to their base constituents and the gun violence issue that propelled them into the vortex of a sharpening national debate.  
The Expulsion Votes
Tennessee Rising! Rep. Jones Reinstated to Tennessee  House of Representatives: No Justin No Peace  
This expulsion was not about violating rules of decorum. You just saw Critical Race Theory in action. 
Elie Mystal
At 4:45 today, The Nashville, Metro Council voted unanimously to reappoint Representative Justin Jones to the Tennessee House of Representatives. With a packed house the Metro Council voted to reappoint Rep. Justin Jones as its representative to House District 52, as we go to print, Jones is marching with supporters to the State Capitol to be sworn back into the legislature. reclaim the seat he was expelled from last week by the Republican House supermajority for speaking is support of passing legislation to restrict accessibility to guns and assault weapons. On Wednesday, Rep. Justin Pearson's reinstatement to the 86th District will be taken up the Memphis Metro Council. Underscoring the volatility of the issue was today's mass shooting in Louisville in which five people were killed including the shooter.     
Update - 4-10-23