WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, April 10, the Nashville Metro Council voted 36-0 to send recently expelled state Rep. Justin Jones (D) back to the Tennessee General Assembly. Last week, Tennessee Republicans ousted two young, Black lawmakers — Jones along with Rep. Justin Pearson, who represents parts of Memphis — for joining protestors at the state capitol who were demanding gun safety laws following a deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Nashville. Notably, the Assembly did not expel a third Democrat, Rep. Gloria Johnson, a white woman, even though she protested as well.
Today, the Nashville Metro Council met to discuss the vacancy and to elect an interim representative to Jones’ seat. According to The Tennessean, the process for reappointment typically takes four weeks, but the Council suspended those rules. The Council voted unanimously to reappoint Jones to his position, ensuring that around 70,000 Nashville residents regain their constitutionally guaranteed representation.
The expulsion of Jones was only the latest anti-democratic action imposed on Nashville by the Tennessee General Assembly. The Metro Council is currently involved in litigation against a new state law that would require it to cut the number of council members in half.
On Wednesday, April 12, the Shelby County Commission will hold a meeting to discuss the next steps for Pearson’s seat.