Just two months after regaining his seat, Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones was once again silenced by Republicans.
Jones, a young and Black Democrat, was barred from speaking on the House of Representatives floor Monday after he was deemed to have spoken out of turn twice by his GOP constituents.
Justin Jones Silenced Again
During a debate about gun control and the number of police officers in school, Jones suggested that resources go to mental health professionals and teacher pay. Speaker Cameron Sexton, a Republican, declared that the comments were off-topic, and the chamber voted 70 to 20 to silence Jones for the rest of the day, despite outcries from Democrats and spectators in the gallery.
Chants of “fascists” and “racists” erupted from the crowds, before Republicans ordered that all audience members be removed by state troopers, including a group of parents of students who had survived a school shooting, who had been quietly observing the proceedings.
Jones' silencing comes just four months after he and his colleague, fellow young and Black Democrat Justin Pearson, were both expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives after joining protestors at the capital who rallied in favor of gun control shortly after a shooting at an elementary school in Nashville.
The Republican-controlled legislature voted to expel the two Black men, but spared the third representative who participated, Gloria Johnson, a White woman.
Both Jones and Pearson were reappointed to their seats in June by their local election boards as interim representatives, awaiting special elections, which were held on August 3. Both emerged victorious and returned to their seats.
Jones, who has proven he will not be so easily silenced by his Republican constituents, declared after leaving the House chamber on Monday: "That’s a charade; a sham happening in there. I’ll be back every day as a member of this body."