Spearheaded by State Innovation Exchange (SiX), the letter was sent to TN House Leadership ahead of a vote to expel the Tennessee 3 — Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson — for standing with their constituents against gun violence.
Today, State Innovation Exchange (SiX) sent a letter to Tennessee State House Leadership signed by 267 legislators across 35 states in support of Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson ahead of a vote to expel them from the House for standing with their constituents against gun violence at the Capitol on Monday, April 3. The letter constitutes the largest show of support by elected officials to the Tennessee 3.
If they are expelled, the vote would be both unprecedented — no Tennessee State House member’s election has ever been overturned for alleged violations of House rules — and a direct affront to the will of the people who chose the three state lawmakers to represent them in Nashville. The anti-democratic move comes on the heels of lawmakers in Florida and Oklahoma being arrested and stripped of their committees, respectively, for vocalizing their opposition to attacks on their constituents’ fundamental freedoms.
“Let’s be clear, the vote to expel Reps. Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson is just another anti-democratic effort to silence the American people for speaking out against the devastating consequences of gun violence. Calling for gun safety within the people’s house is an example of our democracy in action, expelling lawmakers for standing for what they believe in is not.” says Neha Patel, Co-Executive Director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX). “Gun violence impacts all of us, especially the Black and brown communities many legislators in Tennessee represent. Ultimately, these kinds of actions present clear and present danger to our country and our democracy, and we must not allow it.”
Regardless of today’s decision, SiX will continue to mobilize legislators and advocates to fight for representative state houses and against gross abuses of power. SiX, along with the signatories of the letter, stand in solidarity with Tennessee 3 as they face the threat of expulsion today. Read the full sign on letter here.
State Innovation Exchange (SiX) was founded as a nonpartisan, national resource and strategy center for state legislators working to move bold public policy that builds an equitable, resilient, and prosperous country for all. SiX provides state-based technical assistance, public policy research, skill and issue-based trainings, communications and polling support, convenings, and strategy sessions with state legislators, power builders, and policy advocates on a wide array of public policy topics.