Nashville Council Plans To Reinstate Jones
This Easter Monday, Nashville officials are ready to reinstate one of the two Black Democratic lawmakers expelled by Republican colleagues. Reasons why are due to their gun control protest on the Tennessee House floor after a deadly school shooting — essentially, sending him back after a long weekend.
The metro council of Nashville addressed in a meeting the vacancy left by the expulsion on Thursday of former Rep. Justin Jones. Many councilmembers have publicly commented that they want to send Jones back to the statehouse. The vote will happen as state lawmakers hold their first floor sessions since last week’s expulsion votes.
Before the plan of today, protesters packed the state Capitol last Thursday to advocate gun reform measures. The week before was devastating after a mass shooting took place at a local school. Rep. Justin Jones, Rep. Justin Pearson, and Rep. Gloria Johnson rallied with a bullhorn and spoke without being recognized. Tennessee House leaders called the protest an “insurrection.” On the contrary, Nashville council members like Brett Withers calls labeling the protest as an insurrection is “unfounded.”
The Tennessee House of Representatives expelled Jones and Pearson in different line votes last Thursday. Johnson’s line vote did not expel her. She admits the racial disparity of her being white and both Jones and Pearson as black members “might have to do with the color of my skin,” The Tennessean reported.
GOP leaders says the actions have nothing to do with race. Instead, they are necessary to avoid setting a precedent that lawmakers’ disruptions of House proceedings through protest won’t be tolerated.
Using your voice in democracy led to no progress last Thursday. Notable figures voice commentary by how events took place last week. Vice President Kamala Harris had traveled to Nashville Friday to renew the Biden administration’s call for a ban on assault-style weapons. Then, she met with the two expelled Democratic state lawmakers as well as the entire Democratic caucus. The last-minute trip shows how much focus the Biden administration is placing on this issue and on gun control more broadly.
Special elections for seats will take place in the coming months. Jones and Pearson plans to reinstate and run in a special election.
Featured Image by Seth Herald/Getty Images North America/TNS