Tennessee House Speaker Herbert Slatery has issued an opinion about State Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) and whether state law allows for any attempts to expel him from the Tennessee General Assembly.
The opinion — state law does not prohibit it, but precedent and constitutional restraints counsel against it.
This, according to Knoxnews.com.
The website also reported Republican House Speaker Cameron Sexton has read the opinion, and he will not try to expel Byrd.
“Historical practice, sound policy considerations, and constitutional restraints counsel against, but do not absolutely prohibit, the exercise of the legislature’s expulsion power to oust a member for conduct that occurred before he was elected and that was known to the member’s constituents when they elected him,” according to Slatery’s opinion.
Knoxnews.com went on to say that “Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson and chairman of the judiciary committee, said Wednesday that if a resolution is filed to expel Byrd this session, he will hold a hearing — as Curcio first announced on the House floor during an August special session — to investigate Byrd and compel testimony.”
As The Tennessee Star reported in March, The Tennessean has led an effort to force Byrd from the Legislature for more than a year, despite the fact that there have been no allegations of misconduct during his time in office, nor any charges (much less conviction) for any past conduct.
After the allegations from three former players were reported in 2018 by WSMVChannel 4 in Nashville, related to their unsubstantiated claims of inappropriate behavior by their former coach more than 30 years ago, Byrd was re-elected by a more than fifty-five point margin.
Under the guise of a “poll,” reporters questioned several legislators with virtually identical questions as to whether Byrd should resign or be forced out; whether he should be removed from the Education Sub-Committee Chairmanship; whether they were aware that one of the accusers met with Governor Bill Lee; and whether or not the issue is a distraction to the legislators.
Several legislators told The Tennessee Star that the fact that his community, who knew of the allegations and know both the accusers and Rep. Byrd, re-elected him by a huge margin indicates that his constituents have faith in him and that the efforts of a partisan-driven media shouldn’t override their judgment.
One legislator specifically said that “the only distraction is the media’s fake news political agenda being more important to them than their attempts to cover the serious legislation that is being considered and is ignored by these same reporters.”
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