Republicans in Tennessee took steps to expel three Democrats from the GOP-controlled state House for speaking at a gun control protest following the shooting at a Nashville school that killed six people, including three children.
The saga began last week when the Democrats — state Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson — led protestors in a string of chants on the chamber floor without being recognized to speak. Hundreds gathered at the Capitol to call for gun restrictions after the shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville.
The action violated chamber rules, and Republicans filed a series of resolutions Monday to expel the three Democrats for “disorderly behavior” that “knowingly and intentionally” brought “disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.” The GOP holds a supermajority in the Tennessee House, with 75 of 99 seats.
Final votes are scheduled for Thursday, when the three lawmakers will be able to defend their actions. They’ve already been stripped of their committee assignments.
The expulsion move prompted fury on Monday, with protestors yelling at Republicans and calling lawmakers fascists from the galleries in the Capitol, The Tennessean reported.
“We’re going to push back, and we’re gonna fight this because it’s unprecedented and utterly ridiculous,” Johnson told the paper on Monday night, adding she would consider suing if she is expelled.
She noted that the GOP didn’t oust former Republican Rep. David Byrd, despite allegations of sexual assault, and helped reelect him.
“But talk on the floor without permission, and you’ll get expelled,” Johnson added.