House Speaker-elect Sexton requests opinion from Attorney General on member expulsion

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Speaker-elect Cameron Sexton with the Tennessee House of Representatives sent a letter to Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery to request an opinion on member expulsion.

The letter was sent Wednesday.

“These allegations are serious, and this situation is complex and unprecedented. The Tennessee House of Representatives has rules that govern our body, and we follow those rules. After consulting with Republican leadership, I am asking the Attorney General to formulate an opinion as to whether we can remove a member for potential misconduct prior to that member serving in the legislature. This will ensure due process, clarify any constitutionality questions raised, and guarantee we are operating within legal parameters because of the timeframe in which this alleged behavior occurred.”

Rep. Cameron Sexton

The allegations of misconduct are in reference to recent controversy surrounding representative David Byrd. Byrd was accused of sexual misconduct by three women.

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The letter states the House of Representatives has used the power to expel only twice since 1866. But in those two instances, the members were expelled over conduct that occurred during their service.

So, the question Sexton asked of the Attorney General is: “May the House of Representatives expel a member for conduct which occurred more than 25 years prior to the member’s initial election to the House of Representatives and that is publicly known at the time of the member’s most recent re-election to the House of Representatives?”


WKRN News 2 reporting contributed to this story.

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