State House Speaker Glen Casada has requested an advisory opinion from the House Ethics Committee about the actions he took surrounding his chief of staff resigning.

A member of that committee told News4 this is all new territory and possibly the first time it's ever happened with a House speaker.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of issues in the House over the last 25 years, but dealing with something like this on the ethics committee, this will be new for me," State Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) said.

It comes after Casada's former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, resigned. Cothren is accused of sending racist and vulgar text messages.

“It’s going to be a challenge for the speaker to come before the House ethics committee," DeBerry said.

DeBerry is waiting for direction from the committee chair. Typically, DeBerry says they'll look at what rules have been broken and what the consequences will be for breaking them.

Calls for Casada's resignation are growing louder even from top Republicans.

“I thought he needed to step down and I went into detail on the reasons why. He didn’t agree with me obviously and I’ve let it be known my feelings. Each member needs to search their heart and make their decision," Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) said.

Casada is partly in hot water over inappropriate messages he exchanged with his former chief of staff about women. He's apologized for them.

“These events have called to question the integrity of the House of Representatives and the office of the Speaker. I think it is totally necessary and I think he, himself, knows it’s unavoidable the House ethics committee take time to look at it," DeBerry said.

News4 asked if the ethics committee has the power to remove Casada from his position. DeBerry said he didn't know.

The committee typically takes actions like censuring a lawmaker or sending a letter. 

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Reporter

Cameron Taylor is a national Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist who joined the News 4 team in December 2018.

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