Speaker Sexton Spares House Members from Rule 53 Vote on E-Verify Legislation


During the House floor session Monday evening, Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), by his ruling, spared his members from a Rule 53 vote regarding the proposed E-Verify legislation.

Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) invoked the Rule 53 provision from the House Permanent Rules of Order for the 112th General Assembly, which is the process of recalling a bill from committee.  If a Rule 53 effort is successful, the subject bill would be scheduled directly to the House floor for a vote, bypassing the committee process that killed the bill.

Griffey’s HB 0801 lowers the threshold for Tennessee businesses required to use E-Verify for their employees from the current 50 down to 6 employees.

At the hands of five Republicans, the House Banking and Consumer Affairs Committee killed the bill on March 10, with 0 Ayes, 6 No and 1 Present and not voting, The Tennessee Star reported.

Griffey submitted the necessary paperwork to invoke Rule 53 about a week later which set the stage for the matter to be taken up by the full House during Monday night’s regularly scheduled floor session.

The vote, which was only procedural in nature, would need the support of a two-thirds majority of the House membership to allow for HB 0801 to be scheduled for a vote on the legislation.

Once the 26 bills on the regular calendar were taken up, the House then moved to unfinished business.

It was during that portion of the meeting that Griffey was recognized by Sexton and made the Rule 53 motion to recall HB 0801 from the subcommittee.

He began to explain the purpose of his motion as addressing a crisis at the border that is creating an existential threat to jobs and wages, before Sexton cut him off for addressing the legislation and not the motion.

The House Parliamentarian, at the request of Sexton, said that the debate had to be limited to whether or not the bill should be recalled, with the merits of the bill not being up for debate.

Griffey referenced Mason’s Rules of Order, under which the House operates in the absence of other specific House rules, and said he is allowed to address the purpose of the motion.

At that point, it was apparent that tensions were rising.

The Parliamentarian then read to Griffey from the Mason’s manual that it is not in order to address the merits of a proposal in such cases and that debate must be confined strictly to the purpose of the motion.

Griffey responded that he was trying to address the purpose of the motion that would give every member of the House the opportunity to vote as to whether their constituents support E-Verify, or the Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business).

At that point, Sexton asked Griffey if he had made a motion, to which Griffey responded in the affirmative.

Sexton said, “We have a motion.  No second.”

After slamming the gavel, Sexton ruled, “Dies.”

With Sexton’s ruling, House members were spared from having to go on the record with their vote on Rule 53, which could have been construed as their position on the merits of the bill.

The video of the unfinished business portion of the House floor session of Monday, March 22 can be watched here.

Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.





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6 Thoughts to “Speaker Sexton Spares House Members from Rule 53 Vote on E-Verify Legislation”

  1. Horatio Bunce

    Without any enforcement on small businesses, the illegal aliens hired by them can continue to r-ape their coworkers and then be set free by the federal government and never stand trial. The illegal alien that r-aped a friend’s daughter was employed by Pelancho’s in Seymour. She is now with child. He is now running free because police “had to let him go”. He will never face charges from our corrupt government. Maybe it will take one of the legislator’s daughters being r-aped by an illegal alien for them to see the problem. Or maybe their businesses/farms that are using illegals right now need to be exposed.

  2. 83ragtop50

    Sexton shows his true colors once again. Same old politics in the state capitol.

  3. JB Taylor

    Slowly learning who the local RINO’s Are. Will work to make them an Endangered species.


    And that’s why I say, taking a page from American history, as we prepare for 2022, “Millions for Conservative Candidates, Not a Penny for the Republican Party.”

  5. Karen Bracken

    Well lets see how Sexton and other members of the House feel when one of their own loses a job to an illegal. The threshold should be for ANY business that employs any number of employees even if it is 1 employee. There should be no business hiring ANY illegals. Remember the Chamber of Commerce is a UN NGO folks.

  6. CMinTN

    Time to clean out the CoC bought and paid for RINOs next election. The good ole boy network needs canned!