Nashville City Council Votes to Reinstate Justin Jones to State House Seat

April 10, 2023

Justin Jones, one of two Tennessee House members who was ousted last week, was unanimously voted back into his position as a state Representative by the Nashville City Council Monday.

Jones and Justin Pearson, both Black, were expelled on Thursday while a third state Representative, Gloria Johnson, who is white, survived the vote against her after the trio—popularly known as the “Tennessee Three”—after they were accused a week earlier of breaking House rules by calling for gun reform.

“Let’s give them their voice back, and I call on this body to vote unanimously right now to do just that,” said Mayor John Cooper (D) at the start of the Nashville city council meeting ahead of the vote.

The Nashville city council did just that—voting 36-0 to reinstate Jones.

Meanwhile, the Shelby County Commission, said in a statement Sunday that it will consider at a meeting Wednesday whether to reappoint Pearson, who is from Memphis, to his seat.

However, in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Pearson said he has “heard that people in the state legislature and in Nashville are actually threatening our Shelby County commissioners to not reappoint me, or they’re going to take away funding that’s in the government’s budget for projects that the mayor and others have asked for.”

Jones had warned last week that Republicans, who hold a supermajority in the Tennessee House, could refuse to seat both him and Pearson even if they were reappointed or if they win a special election.

The three lawmakers had called for gun reform three days after a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville where three 9-year-olds and three adults were killed.

The lawmakers’ call for stricter gun laws came as the state House is considering looser gun laws, including allowing people to carry rifles and shotguns in public without a permit, and to allow faculty or school staff members to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds with a permit.

In his own “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday, Jones said the national response to his and Pearson’s ousting makes clear that the Tennessee house Republicans’ “attack on democracy will not go on unchallenged.”

PHOTO: (L-R) Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, Justin Pearson

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