In an extraordinary set of votes, Republicans on Thursday expelled two of three Democrat lawmakers in question from the Tennessee Capitol.
The state representatives were facing expulsion from the state’s House of Representatives after rallying for stricter gun control laws following the deadly shooting that took place at a Christian school in Nashville, according to a New York Times report.
Last Thursday, Democrat Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson chanted “No action, no peace” on the House floor during legislative proceedings, forcing them to halt.
The House Speaker, Cameron Sexton, revoked their ID access to the State Capitol building and removed two of the three lawmakers from their committee assignments.
The expelled lawmakers are Reps. Jones and Pearson.
After Jones’ expulsion, Republican Rep. Gino Bulso stated that the three Democratic representatives had “effectively conducted a mutiny.”
“The gentleman shows no remorse,” Bulso said, in reference to Jones. “He does not even recognize that what he did was wrong. So not to expel him would simply invite him and his colleagues to engage in mutiny on the House floor.”
This political retribution is in response to the lawmakers’ interruption of the legislative proceedings after the March 27 school shooting that left seven people dead, including the shooter herself and three children. The six victims were identified by the Metro Nashville Police Department as Evelyn Dieckhaus (9), Hallie Scruggs (9), William Kinney (9), Cynthia Peak (61), Dr. Katherine Koonce (60), and Mike Hill (61).
Tennessee’s GOP-dominated House declined to oust Rep. Johnson for her role in the demonstration.
Republicans who control the Tennessee state government, led by Governor Bill Lee, have rejected the calls for tighter gun laws and have focused on toughening school security instead. Gov. Lee recently proposed $140 million for armed guards at Tennessee schools.
The votes signify the first partisan expulsions from the General Assembly in the state’s modern history, according to The Times.
Expulsions of lawmakers from state legislatures are rare in U.S. politics and usually involve accusations of criminal or sexual misconduct.
The last expulsion from the Tennessee House occurred in 2016, and the House of Representatives in Tennessee has only voted twice to oust a lawmaker in modern history.
As a result of the expulsions, the county commissions in their districts will select replacements to serve until a special election in the coming months, the three still being able to run in those, The Associated Press reports.
In 1920, the New York State Assembly expelled five Socialist lawmakers, and no other lawmaker was expelled in the state for nearly a century until Hiram Monserrate was removed from the State Senate in 2010 after being convicted of misdemeanor assault, The Times notes.