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Tennessee House GOP expels 2 of 3 miscreants

The Tennessee House of Representatives expelled two of three of its members who stood accused of unruly behavior and disrupting the House.

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Tennessee House GOP expels 2 of 3 miscreants

The Tennessee House of Representatives, with heavy Republican dominance, expelled two of three Democrats who disrupted proceedings last week.

Tennessee Three to Tennessee One

Rep. Justin Jones was the first to lose his membership, 72-25. Justin Pearson fell next, 69-26. But the House failed to muster the two-thirds necessary to expel Gloria Johnson, the last of the Tennessee Three.

Supporters of the Three kept a stonily silent vigil from the House Gallery. Outside the Capitol a more vocal crowd chanted slogans referring either to the Three or to the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Washington Post called the expulsions “partisan retaliation,” but never made clear for what the House Republicans were retaliating. ABC News also carried the story.

All three representatives involved chiefly sounded the refrain that motivated their outburst last week: gun control. Even before voting on expulsion, the House took up HB 322, a bill to improve school security. Among other things the bill calls for armed and trained resource officers. But the “Tennessee Three” continue to maintain that “easy access to weapons of war” is the problem.

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Jones had been in trouble for breaking House rules once before. His rhetoric apparently was so provocative that only one Republican voted to retain him. Pearson got more “retain” votes but not enough. Johnson, who has been in the House the longest, eked out a sufficient “retain” bloc.

The American Civil Liberties Union laid on a campaign to forestall the expulsions. Johnson’s survival was the only likely positive result.

On March 30, the three used bullhorns to whip up the Gallery into gun-control chants, in violation of House rules.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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