Tennessee House Moves to Block Expelled Lawmakers' Return

Jaxon Wildwood

Updated Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 6:24 AM CDT

Tennessee House Moves to Block Expelled Lawmakers' Return

In a series of controversial moves, the Tennessee House of Representatives has passed significant legislation that could reshape the state's political and educational landscapes. The House approved a bill aimed at preventing local governments from reappointing state lawmakers expelled for misconduct. This comes as a direct response to the recent expulsion and subsequent re-election of Democratic Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, who protested for gun control on the House floor following the tragic Nashville school shooting that claimed six lives.

The bill, designed to thwart situations resembling the reappointment of Jones and Pearson, has raised constitutional concerns. A legislative staff attorney suggested that it may necessitate a constitutional amendment. However, Rep. Johnny Garrett, who sponsored the bill, insists that the Tennessee Constitution allows for such a change. Meanwhile, Senate Speaker Randy McNally has stated the Senate will hold off on any proposals regarding lawmaker expulsion until after the House concludes its actions.

Both Jones, from Nashville, and Pearson, based in Memphis, have vehemently opposed the bill, with Pearson condemning it as government overreach and retaliatory. In a heated debate, Jones's comments were dismissed as out of order by House Speaker Cameron Sexton. Alongside Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who narrowly avoided expulsion herself, the trio has been dubbed the "Tennessee Three," garnering national spotlight and fundraising support.

The political climate in Tennessee continues to heat up as Johnson challenges U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn and simultaneously seeks statehouse re-election. Amid these developments, the House has introduced new rules to curb debate time on bills and limit speaking rights for those declared "out of order."

In a related move, the House voted 70-24 in favor of a bill largely prohibiting the display of pride flags in public school classrooms, now awaiting a final Senate decision. During the session, Jones was ruled out of order by Republicans for attempting to speak on the pride flag bill, leading to the removal of at least two individuals from the gallery protesting the legislation.

Democratic Rep. Jason Powell of Nashville stood up for the right to display LGBTQ flags in schools, opposing the bill. Sponsored by Republican Rep. Gino Bulso from Williamson County, the bill defines "displaying" a flag and carves out exemptions for various flags, including the U.S., Tennessee, and armed forces flags. It also allows for temporary displays as part of a curriculum or by groups using school facilities.

The proposed law would empower parents to file lawsuits against schools for classroom "political flags" displays but does not alter the current law regarding Confederate flag displays, which are permitted for curriculum and historical context. The bill reflects the broader political debate over LGBTQ+ rights in Tennessee, with the conservative leadership pressing to limit discussions on gender and sexuality and to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The Senate's version narrows the scope of who can sue over flag displays, while the ACLU warns that schools can only legally restrict on-campus speech under specific circumstances.

As Tennessee grapples with these contentious issues, the political landscape continues to garner attention from both state and national observers. The outcomes of these legislative efforts could significantly impact educational policies and the representation of expelled lawmakers in the state.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the liberal lunacy has been put in check by the common-sense conservatives in the Tennessee House. In a valiant effort to uphold the integrity of the legislative process, they've passed a bill to stop the absurdity of allowing disgraced lawmakers, who have the gall to disrupt proceedings with their gun control antics, from being reappointed. It's about time we put an end to this circus and ensure that those who are expelled for misconduct can't just waltz back into office. And as for the pride flag debacle, it's clear that our schools need to be places of learning, not indoctrination centers for the radical left's agenda. The Tennessee House is taking a stand to protect our children from being bombarded with political propaganda under the guise of inclusivity. It's high time we focus on education, not on pushing controversial social issues on impressionable young minds. Kudos to the lawmakers who are fighting to keep our schools and government in the hands of those who respect the rule of law and traditional values.

Liberal Bias:

In an outrageous display of authoritarian overreach, the Republican-dominated Tennessee House is t****ling on democracy and free speech. They've shamelessly passed a draconian bill to prevent the rightfully re-elected progressive champions, Jones and Pearson, from serving their constituents, simply because they dared to speak out for gun control. This is nothing but petty retaliation and a blatant attempt to silence dissent. And as if that weren't enough, these conservative zealots are attacking our educators' ability to foster an inclusive environment by banning pride flags in classrooms. It's a direct assault on LGBTQ+ rights and a move designed to erase and stigmatize an already vulnerable community. The Republicans are making it clear that they prefer to promote ignorance and bigotry over acceptance and understanding. This is a dark time for Tennessee, as the GOP continues to push their extremist agenda, endangering both our democracy and the well-being of our youth.

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