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The Latest: Tennessee House GOP won’t pursue rep’s expulsion

November 13, 2019 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on a Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Tennessee’s House speaker says his chamber’s GOP supermajority will not move forward with a possible expulsion vote of a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct decades ago.

In a statement Wednesday, Speaker Cameron Sexton cited an attorney general’s opinion that says “historical practice, sound policy considerations, and constitutional restraints counsel against” expulsion in the case of Republican Rep. David Byrd, whose alleged conduct happened before he was elected.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s opinion Tuesday also said nothing prohibits the Legislature from expulsion in a case like Byrd’s. But Slatery warned the power is best used only in rare circumstances and with extreme caution.

Byrd has faced scrutiny after three women accused him of sexual misconduct three decades ago when he was a high school teacher and coach. Two women alleged Byrd inappropriately touched them. The third said Byrd tried to.

Byrd hasn’t outright denied the allegations and was reelected last year.

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1:40 p.m.

Tennessee’s attorney general says nothing prohibits the GOP-controlled Legislature from removing a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct decades ago. But he warned the power is best used only in rare circumstances and with extreme caution.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s opinion Tuesday doesn’t close the door on the possible expulsion of Republican Rep. David Byrd. But it says “historical practice, sound policy considerations and constitutional restraints counsel against” the expulsion based on conduct that occurred before being elected.

Byrd was reelected last year despite the allegations.

Byrd has faced scrutiny after three women accused him of sexual misconduct three decades ago when he was a high school teacher and coach. Two women alleged Byrd inappropriately touched them. The third said Byrd tried to.

Byrd hasn’t outright denied the allegations.