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Headlines for April 07, 2023

Written by on 08/04/2023

The Tennessee House of Representatives voted Thursday to expel two Democratic members for joining peaceful protests against gun violence inside the state Capitol last week. Justin Jones of Nashville and Justin Pearson of Memphis are both African American and from Tennessee’s two largest cities. Jones made an impassioned case against the proceedings before the Republican supermajority voted 72 to 25 to expel him.

Rep. Justin Jones: “We called for you all to ban assault weapons, and you respond with an assault on democracy. That is why the nation is watching you today. And I say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that no matter what you vote, you have the votes, but you will not be victorious, because there are generations of young people who see what is going on.”

A third Democratic representative, Gloria Johnson of Knoxville, who is white, narrowly survived a vote on her expulsion. Thursday’s extraordinary proceedings were interrupted at times by thousands of protesters who packed the House gallery and flooded the Capitol grounds to support the lawmakers and their efforts to stem gun violence in the wake of the March 27 mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, which left three adults and three 9-year-old students dead. President Biden condemned the expulsions as “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent.” After headlines, we’ll go to Nashville to speak with one of the expelled state representatives, Justin Jones.

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