Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Metro Nashville Council reappoints Justin Jones to seat he was expelled from just four days ago

The Metro Nashville Council voted unanimously to send former Rep. Justin Jones back to the Tennessee House.

The council met in a special called meeting four days after House Republicans expelled Jones, D-Nashville and Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, for violating its rules on floor decorum.

By law, the Metro Council chooses who to appoint to Jones’ empty seat until a special election later this year. Nothing stopped the council from putting Jones back in the District 52 seat, and he can’t be expelled for the same thing twice.

Monday’s reinstating of Jones comes after a three dramatic weeks that began in tragedy. A mass shooting killed six — including three children — at the Covenant School in Nashville on March 26.

Jones, Pearson Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Nashville, took over the House floor speaking podium on March 29 to protest a lack of action on gun regulations by Republican lawmakers. Thousands of protesters were at the State Capitol on the same day.

‘An abomination:’ TN House expels two Dems over gun protest, despite removal looking temporary

The trio brought a megaphone to the House podium, leading chants among the packed gallery and pausing the chamber for 40 minutes. House Republicans then drew up expulsion papers on April 3 and held a hearing to remove all three on April 6.

The expulsion hearings drew nationwide attention, with Vice-President Kamala Harris visiting Nashville to support the three. Jones, Pearson and Johnson have also appeared on various national news programs this past weekend.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton said Monday he wouldn’t stop Jones or Pearson from returning to the House if reappointed. Jones planned to attend Monday’s 5 p.m. House floor session after his appointment.

The Shelby County Commission will meet Wednesday to decide who they will appoint to Pearson’s open seat.

Several Shelby County Commissioners have voiced support for Pearson, but there is some concern Memphis could lose out on funding for upgrades to their NBA and college football stadiums if he’s reappointed. Sexton released a statement saying that he was still in support of the stadium funding.

Both men must run in special elections later this year to retain their seats.

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