Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones Ruled Out of Order After Calling House Speaker Sexton ‘Drunk with Power’ on Second Day of Session

Jones Sexton

State Representative Justin Jones (D-Nashville) was ruled out of order by the Tennessee House of Representatives on Wednesday after he reportedly claimed House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) was “drunk with power” on the second day of the 2024 legislative session.

Jones asked to speak about his purported concerns over an incident he and Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) claimed to witness on Tuesday, when they allege that Sexton’s security detail prevent Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) from riding in the same elevator as Sexton.

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State House Passes Resolution to Address Adjourning with Unfinished Legislation

As Tennessee’s 111th Tennessee General Assembly wound down to adjourn, the House passed a resolution recognizing the need to address legislation passed by one chamber but left unfinished by the other.

When Tennessee’s 111th Tennessee General Assembly came back to their second session after the three-month COVID-19 recess, the Senate only wanted to take up bills that were budget-related, time-sensitive, or COVID-19 related, while the House planned to complete all of their work.

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Gov. Lee Considers Calling Special Session of Legislature to Pass Bill Giving Businesses Protection From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Gov. Bill Lee is thinking about calling the Legislature in for a special session to pass a bill to provide retroactive COVID-19 legal protection for businesses, the Chattanooga Times Free Press said.

The General Assembly ended their session on Friday without the House passing the Tennessee Recovery and Safe Harbor Act. It received 46 of 50 votes needed. House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) questioned whether the measure was legal under Tennessee’s Constitution regarding the impairment of contracts. (The Senate had approved the bill.)

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State Lawmakers Will Have to Reconcile the House Budget Proposal That Gives Tax Dollars Back to Citizens and Makes Deeper Cuts Than the Senate Version

As the second session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly winds down, the House and Senate will need to reconcile their two different budget proposals to close out the current fiscal year and for the upcoming fiscal year 2021.

The Senate version passed with a vote of 27 Ayes, 1 No and 2 Present and Not Voting during the June 11 floor session.

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Governor Bill Lee Announces ‘Constitutional Carry’ Legislation

At a press conference Thursday surrounded by more than 40 members of the Tennessee General Assembly, Governor Bill Lee announced that he will be introducing legislation supporting the God-given and constitutionally-protected Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans with a Constitutional Carry bill.

Word of an announcement that would generically expand “constitutional rights” got out late Wednesday, although the Tennessee Firearms Association’s Executive Director John Harris said that they were made aware weeks ago of a major announcement on a 2A issue that TFA members would likely be pleased with.

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Cameron Sexton Chosen House Republican Caucus Speaker Select

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee — After four rounds of voting, State Representative Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) won the battle to become the House Republican Caucus Speaker Select late Wednesday morning. Sexton came out the leader, after a process of elimination of the other five candidates, with 41 votes. Sexton is set to replace the current embattled Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin), who was himself the Speaker Select following a Republican House Caucus meeting in November 2018 and officially elected by the full House membership in January, when the Tennessee House of Representatives meets in special session on August 23. The meeting, held in the former Supreme Court chambers in the State Capitol, was attended by 70 of the 73 Republican members of the House. As indicated near the start of the meeting, it would take 36 votes to achieve a majority. Representatives Charlie Baum (R-Murfeesboro), Dale Carr (R-Sevierville) and current House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) were absent. The six candidates for Speaker, in the order that they drew at the outset of the meeting to determine when they would make their speeches, were Representatives Jay Reedy (R-Erin), Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough), Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah), Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville).…

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Governor Bill Lee Calls a Special Session for August 23 to Elect a New Speaker of the House

Bill Lee

  The day following the House Republican Caucus set a meeting to select a new Speaker, Governor Bill Lee issued a Proclamation calling for a special session of the General Assembly on Friday, August 23 at 10 a.m. On Thursday, Governor Lee issued a statement regarding the signing of the proclamation calling for the extraordinary session, “It is in the best interest of our State to select a new Speaker of the House, and so I am calling a special session of the General Assembly for August 23 to accomplish that purpose. I have also asked the General Assembly to take up approval of the recent amendments to the Supreme Court rules, in addition to settling these leadership matters. Any other procedural business would be at the discretion of the General Assembly.” The Proclamation itself states that the Governor was requested to convene an extraordinary session by numerous members of the House of Representatives, including, but not limited to the Majority Leader, who is William Lamberth (R-Portland), and the Majority Caucus Chair, who is Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). As reported, Leader Lamberth announced Wednesday that the House Republican Caucus would meet on Wednesday, July 24 to select a new Republican nominee…

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Tennessee House Republicans to Select a New Speaker on July 24

  A meeting of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, to select a Republican nominee for Speaker of the House. The meeting was called by House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland). In a statement issued by Leader Lamberth Wednesday, he said his call for the caucus meeting came, “following conversations with our members of the last several days.” Lamberth retweeted his announcement, which was picked up by Cameron Taylor of WSMV. NEW: @WilliamLamberth says a caucus meeting will be held next month to choose a Republican nominee for speaker. Date on special session to elect the next speaker hasn’t been announced yet. @WSMV pic.twitter.com/OtxBdUnHgV — Cameron Taylor (@CameronKSHB) June 26, 2019 The purpose of the caucus meeting is to select the Republican nominee for Speaker of the House, who will eventually replace current Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin). In a closed meeting and by secret ballot, Casada received a 45-24 vote of no confidence by the House GOP Caucus on May 20. At an impromptu press conference following the three-hour meeting, Lamberth said that the House Republican Caucus vote “sent a clear message” that sexist racist and similar behaviors is not acceptable in leadership, the…

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As Casada Says He’ll Work to Regain Confidence, House Republican Leadership Calls for Casada to Step Down and Governor Lee to Call Special Session

  In response to the State House Republican Caucus meeting which delivered a 45-24 vote of no confidence in Glen Casada (R-Franklin) continuing as Speaker, Casada and House Republican leadership issued divergent statements. Casada, who has been under tremendous public scrutiny as the first year of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly came to a close with him as the Speaker, after receiving 75 votes in January including two from Democrats, as sexist and racists texts involving his now-former Chief of Staff and another staffer from 2016 came to light. Along with the texts, there were allegations of modifying the date of an email in an effort to frame activist Justin Jones who was restricted from being in the presence of Casada following assault charges, followed by accusations of surveillance of committee rooms in the Cordell Hull legislative office building, installation of white noise machines in the Speaker’s office, and attempting to influence the outcome of a House Ethics Committee advisory opinion. In a three-hour, closed-to-the-public meeting held Monday, the House Republican Caucus emerged with a 49-24 secret vote on a resolution of no confidence in Casada as Speaker. Shortly after, Casada issued a very brief statement: I’m disappointed in the…

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Democrats Violated the State Constitution and House Rules When They Walked out of the House Chambers

Despite media reports suggesting otherwise, when Democrats left the House floor and walked out of the chambers during session, it was they who were in violation of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee and House Rules of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly, not House Speaker Glen Casada. News Channel 5 reported, “Democratic lawmakers locked inside House chambers.” News Channel 3’s report titled “Democrat lawmakers locked in House Chamber in Nashville,” said “Democrats are calling what happened a lawless act. Republicans say it was well within the law and necessary.” Footage in the News Channel 3 report showed people crowding the House Chamber doors and the two visible Sergeants-At-Arms, who were just following the Speakers orders, backed up to the doors. The video captured Joel Ebert of The Tennessean joining in, recording with his phone and asking the Sergeant-At-Arms, “Why aren’t we allowed out? Why aren’t we allowed out of the chamber?” Also included was Democrat Caucus Chair Representative Mike Stewart of Nashville telling reporters, “The lawlessness and the culture of arrogance that we’ve seen demonstrated throughout this session in ways that have no precedence just was lifted to an entirely new level where you actually had a member, Representative…

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High Drama as State House Eventually Passes Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account Initiative

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee – A much-anticipated vote by the full Tennessee House of Representatives on Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) initiative ended in high drama on Tuesday, after it was moved from the second item on the agenda of the Regular Calendar to the end. From the outset of the meeting there were three to four dozen opponents to the ESA legislation in the gallery, most of whom were displaying hand-held no vouchers signs. While there were 13 amendments to the bill proposed in the House, Amendment #1, #3 and #4 were withdrawn and Amendment #2 was rolled to the heel of the amendments. The remaining amendments were largely offered by Democrats attempting to curtail the legislation. For instance, Representative Jason Powell (D-Nashville) with Amendment #5 sought to allow his county of Davidson to opt out of the legislation, saying not one of the delegation supports it. Powell questioned the constitutionality of the bill and said that the funding of Davidson County schools is under attack. “Maybe some of you are fine with the redistribution of wealth,” argued Powell of the amendment he said would shift money to other counties, “but I stand against that.” Powell said that…

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The Pro-Life Heartbeat Bill Passes the Tennessee House, Despite Protests From Planned Parenthood and Democrats

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The majority of State House members voted for a pro-life Heartbeat Bill that bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, although the bill’s passage wasn’t without protests from Planned Parenthood and opposition by House Democrats. As reported by The Tennessee Star, the Heartbeat Bill, sponsored by Representative Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough) as HB 0077 passed in the House on Thursday by a vote of 65 Ayes, 21 Nays and 7 Present Not Voting. But, before the bill was presented and voted on, legislators were met with Planned Parenthood protesters in the rotunda of the Capitol outside the House chambers. Pro-life supporters were overwhelmed by pro-abortion protesters in both numbers and volume. Pro-abortionists, organized by Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood’s Executive Director Francie Hunt and Community Organizer Elizabeth Thomas as a “Healthcare not Hangers” event, numbered about two dozen. All presented hand-written signs with disturbing messages describing supposed methods a woman would take if she were denied the right to a legal abortion. One pro-life supporter, Brenda Catanach, pointed out to The Star that the signs represented actions that are all self-inflicted by a woman’s own choice and not imposed upon her against her will. In addition…

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