NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Now that the Tennessee House of Representatives has expelled two members from the body in Justin Jones and Justin Pearson following their protest on the House floor last week, what happens now?
According to state law, if 12 or more months remain before the next general election for members of the General Assembly, a successor must be elected by the home county of the person whose seat is vacated.
In Nashville, the onus falls to Metro Council to fill the vacancy. In Memphis, the Shelby County Commission must make the selection.
Once both communities have named their successors, they will notify the governor, who will issue a writ of election calling for a special election. Once the governor issues the writ of election, a primary will be held 55 to 60 days later, and a general election will be 100 to 107 days later.
State law also specifies that if the day of the special election falls within 30 days of an upcoming regular primary or general election, the governor may issue the writ to coincide with the regular election.
Vice Mayor Jim Shulman announced Metro Council will hold a special called meeting Monday, April 10 to announce the vacancy and to discuss the next steps for filling the vacancy for Jones’s seat. If Metro Council approves, they will appoint a successor that night; otherwise, Metro Rules of Procedure stipulate a four-week waiting period between the announcement and when that successor is elected.
A majority of Metro Councilors have already announced they intend to reappoint Jones to his seat, saying the people of District 52 duly elected him, and he deserves to have that seat back.
As of publication, there was not yet word if Shelby County would reappoint Pearson, though it was likely, given the area is another Democratic stronghold in the state.
News 2 has reached out to both the Secretary of State and the Governor’s offices for more information but have not yet heard back as of publication.