The Nashville Metropolitan Council voted unanimously on Monday evening to reinstate Justin Jones, one of the Democratic lawmakers expelled from the Tennessee House last week.
The Republican-controlled House expelled Jones and another lawmaker, Justin Pearson, after they participated in a gun-control protest on the House floor following the deadly mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. The motion to expel a third Democrat, state Rep. Gloria Johnson, failed. Jones and Pearson are both Black, while Johnson is white.
Jones is in his seat again on an interim basis, and on Wednesday, the Shelby County Commission is expected to vote on whether to reappoint Pearson. Special elections will be held to fill their seats, and Jones and Pearson have both said they will run.
Ahead of the Nashville Metropolitan Council's special session on Monday, hundreds of people gathered outside the chambers in support of Jones, with some carrying signs that read "No Justin No Peace." Tennessee state Sen. London Lamar (D) told The Washington Post that in "an attempt to be malicious," Republicans have "created two political megastars who have now made history. I think now it is going to be hard for the Tennessee GOP to continue their covert and overt racism tactics because now the whole nation is watching."