Nashville lawmakers and Metro officials are calling for an end to the legislature interfering with city affairs, saying the GOP bill to reduce the size of the Metro Council will eliminate representation for minority communities.
“If this legislation moves forward, I fear the representation of Black and Brown Nashvillians will suffer,” said Sen. Charlane Oliver, D-Nashville. “That could set us back as a city and state for a generation.”
Sen. Oliver was joined by Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville; Metro Councilwoman Delishia Porterfield; retired lawmaker Brenda Gilmore; and Brenda Haywood, from the mayor’s office just moments after House Bill 48 (which would cut the size of the Nashville Metro Council by at least half) passed out of the House Local Government Committee on a party-line vote.
“This is a targeted attempt to usurp and undermine the will of the people and voters of Davidson County. This action is being taken against the will of voters in Nashville and against the will of our local elected officials,” Sen. Oliver said. “Every person here today wants to build a productive partnership between the state legislature and its capital city. But we cannot move forward together as long as this barrage of threats is being lodged against us.”
For instance, members of the Republican majority have filed legislation this year to: Shrink the size of the Metro Nashville Council; undo a special tax district for Nashville’s convention center; take over Metro’s airport authority and sports authority; and undermine Nashville’s community-led police oversight board.
In past years, Republicans have passed state laws, specifically targeting Nashville, to restrict the authority of local governments on a wide variety of policy areas, including: local wages, affordable housing, government contracts, short-term rental properties, long-term renter’s rights, taxation, historical markers, numerous education policies and more.
“Our economy and schools, our healthcare and safety, are all intertwined,” Sen. Oliver said. “We believe we can work together, but we have to break this cycle of threats and replace it with communication and productivity for the betterment of our state.”