NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Tennessee lawmakers hold a rare special session Friday, but will it be only be about electing a new House speaker and approving some new court rules?
“We will take as much time as necessary, but it’s a pretty limited special session on what we are here for,” says House Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth.
He sees Friday’s special session mainly in terms of electing fellow Republican Cameron Sexton as speaker and dealing with the court rules that were left undone during the regular session earlier this year.
With his election assured as the Republican nominee of the dominant GOP in the House, Sexton will take over from former Speaker Glen Casada, who resigned earlier this month after admitting some sexist text messages along with other allegations surrounding his office.
The minority House Democrats see the special session as more than just about a new speaker and the court rules.
“This is an opportunity to do the right thing,” says Knoxville Democrat Gloria Johnson.
She and other members of her party want to look into allegations that House Republican David Byrd sexually abused players during a coaching career decades before he was elected.
“Let’s hear the resolution that was properly filed and should be on the calendar,” says Rep. Johnson.
It comes as a letter from Rep. Sexton asks the state attorney general for an opinion if the House can expel a member for alleged crimes before taking office. “Especially when we are talking about an unprecedented circumstance of removing a member that pre-dates their time in the General Assembly.”
Democrats say they will also bring up expanding Medicaid healthcare to several hundred-thousand Tennesseans using available federal funds.