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TN special session: Lawmakers elect Rep. Cameron Sexton as new House speaker

Posted at 7:38 AM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 17:18:00-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Lawmakers have officially elected Rep. Cameron Sexton (R – Crossville) as Tennessee's next Speaker of the House.

Sexton was elected during a special session to replace Rep. Glen Casada (R -- Franklin), who resigned as speaker after a NewsChannel 5 investigation found that he exchanged sexually explicit text messages about women with his former chief of staff years ago, among other controversies.

Casada remains a House member. He was not present at Friday's session.

Last month, House Republicans nominated Rep. Cameron Sexton as Casada's replacement.

The last time lawmakers were all together was May 2. The chaotic day ended with some lawmakers staging a walkout, more being locked in the chambers and others getting thrown out.

Democrats hoped to use the special session to oust another lawmaker Rep. David Byrd (R – Waynesboro). He's accused of assaulting three women when he was a high school basketball coach nearly 30 years ago.

Republicans stopped two efforts to expel Byrd from the House. The first vote referred a resolution to the Judiciary Committee for an investigation. From there, the committee will issue a report and then present it when the House reconvenes in January.

Protesters calling for his removal gathered outside the House Chamber before the session began.

House Speaker Sexton sent a letter to the state's Attorney General asking whether Byrd can be expelled for actions prior to his election.

Read more: TN House speaker-select asks for opinion on removing Rep. Byrd due to misconduct before serving

View NewsChannel 5's full investigation:

Capitol Hill Controversy