De-annexation bill dead; sponsor blames city lobbyists

An effort to enact legislation allowing disgruntled residents in some areas of Tennessee cities to vote to secede is dead for the year, reports the Times Free Press. The House sponsor, Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) blames lobbyists for municipalities.

“I didn’t have the votes,” Carter said Wednesday of the bill (HB943) which had been scheduled for hearing in the House Local Government Subcommittee. “Citizens united together from home is wonderful, but it can’t overcome hundreds of thousands of dollars and lobbyists making threats against standing members.”

Last year, Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, got a watered-down version of the bill through the Senate. It allowed disgruntled residents of areas annexed since 1998 to vote in a referendum to leave a municipality.

But the bill also had requirements the residents continue paying some taxes with regard to bonded indebtedness incurred by the municipality when they were still living there.

In 2014, Carter and Watson upended decades-old Tennessee municipal annexation law by barring cities and towns from acquiring new territory by ordinance. The de-annexation measure was a follow up.

… “Today, the farmers and the people of Tennessee were denied their right to vote,” said Carter, who intends to push the issue next year when the new 110th General Assembly takes office.

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