Dems promise to use 'every procedural tool in the book' to discuss expelling representative

Posted at 7:05 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 20:17:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee state democrats promise to "use every procedural tool in the book" to have a resolution to expel Representative David Byrd from the state legislature during Friday's special legislative session.

In advance of the gathering to appoint speaker-select Cameron Sexton to the highest position in the state house, the democratic caucus met to make their demands clear.

"We need to address the credibly accused, apologizing child molester that we have on the house floor. We can do it tomorrow," said Knoxville Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who authored the resolution.

The speaker-select asked the attorney general's office for an opinion about removing Byrd from office. Byrd is accused of sexual assault by multiple people from his time as a high school basketball coach in Wayne County 30 years ago.

"It seems like a stall tactic to say 'Oh, we don't have an AG opinion. So, we can't do it.'" said Johnson. "If you read the Tennessee constitution it's pretty clear the body can do what the body wants to do."

However, Governor Bill Lee says consulting the attorney general Herbert Slatery is a good idea.

"There's a due process that needs to make its way through and the attorney general needs to comment on that and give his opinion," said Lee during a press conference Thursday. "When he's given that opinion, certainly that's an option that's available. I trust the legislature will use that option wisely."

Sexton will take the position during the 10:00 a.m. session Friday. His former position, GOP Caucus Chairman, will be filled by Rep. Jeremy Faison who was elected by the caucus Thursday evening.

Protesters of Rep. Byrd will stay the night at the capitol and hold a vigil Friday morning at 8:45a.m.