NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Democrats are sounding off, accusing Republicans of shutting off debate on the House floor on controversial bills from pipelines to anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Democrats say their constituents wanted to be heard on the three bills before possibly becoming law.
“We did the people of Tennessee a disservice by not letting their elected representatives have a chance to speak on their behalf. This is not what government is about, this is not how Tennessee should be ran,” said Rep. Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville).
From a transgender athlete ban for collegiate sports to a “pronoun” bill, allowing educators to bypass a student’s preferred pronoun, Democrats who wanted to speak against the bill on the House floor did not get the chance.
“Imagine creating a toxic learning environment for a child, because that’s what they’re doing it made me sick — I can’t imagine, most teachers won’t do it, but I have talked to transgender children who a teacher called their parent, nine o’clock at night, and said I will not call your child this name,” said Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville).
Floor debate was also limited on a bill that would take control away from localities and allow the state to decide if a pipeline is placed there.
“There’s a pattern of coming to Nashville when Memphis decides something and usurp us and that’s primarily a black community so they run to Nashville to try to get it changed and that’s what’s happening,” Rep. Joe Towns Jr. (D-Nashville) added.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton is refuting the claim saying they followed the House rules.
He released a statement to News 2 saying: “Previous question was called by members, and as House Rule 36 states, it is a nondebatable motion that requires a vote of 2/3 of the members present to prevail. Therefore, we voted on previous question and it prevailed, which means the House voted on the bills.”