NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The anger on Tennessee’s House floor turned physical Monday night.
Protesters yelled “fascists” as Republicans started the process to remove three Democrats from office.
Rep. Justin Jones (D—Nashville) was recording when he says Rep. Justin Lafferty (R—Knoxville) pushed him and grabbed his phone.
News 2 asked Lafferty’s office for comment. We have not heard back.
Just before that confrontation, Republicans started introducing resolutions to expel three democrats from the house.
It centers around a moment during protests last week House Speaker Cameron Sexton called an insurrection.
Democrat Reps. Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson walked to the front of the House floor during last week’s gun protests and with a megaphone.
The democrats claimed they did it because Republicans blocked them from talking.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R—Crossville) said last week it was “At least equivalent, maybe worse” than the Jan. 6th insurrection.
“It was an insurrection, and even the media who’ve been covering it calls it was an insurrection,” Sexton said during the interview. “They were trying to incite people, they incited people in the balcony to be disorderly and disruptive to shut us down and try to make us adjourn, which I refused to adjourn. We finished the people’s work.”
Unlike the Jan. 6th insurrection, there was no attempt to stop the transfer of power, no injuries were reported, no police officers beaten and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office told News 2 no one was arrested.
A resolution filed Monday night said the three democrats brought “dishonor” and “disorder” to the house.
“We are members who are standing in the well, telling the Speaker and our colleagues that kids should not be murdered in school and rather than address that issue the Speaker has spent more time on Twitter this weekend talking about a fake insurrection than he did talking about six people, including nine-year-old children,” said Jones.
The three lawmakers have already lost their access to parking and a legislative building. They were also removed from committees.
The House is scheduled to hear the resolution to remove them from office on Thursday. Republicans hold a supermajority in the legislature so expulsion is highly possible.
When someone is expelled, they lose their seat for the session. In the meantime, the representative’s home county commission can then appoint someone in their stead.
A special election can be held after the session is over. As long as the expelled member has not been convicted of a crime, they can run again.
The trio represent roughly 210,000 constituents.