metro council

New TNJ edition alert: McNally succession moves, abortion exceptions, and the Slashville challenge

Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) presides on the Senate floor on March 13, 2023. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Calling all pretenders: Succession talk fueled by McNally scandal.

— Legislative roundup: Abortion, campaign finance, and the light at the end of the (session) tunnel.

— Slashville: Nashville sues to halt legislature’s move to cut Metro Council in half.

Also: Flipping the order of Brian Kelsey’s sentencing hearing, Andy Ogles’ ongoing résumé problems, Tim Rudd’s parking garage dreams, and a flooded Capitol complex.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

UPDATE: Gov. Lee signs bill slashing size of Nashville Metro Council

The vote on the Metro Nashville Council bill on March 9, 2023.

Gov. Bill Lee has signed a bill slashing the size of the Metro Nashville Council in half.

The Senate voted 23-7 on Thursday to give final approval to the measure cutting the capital city’s legislative body from 40 members to 20. The House earlier in the week passed the bill on a 72-25 vote.

The speakers of both chambers took the formal steps necessary later on Thursday to send the bill for the prompt signature of the Republican governor.

Lawmakers and the governor coordinated a similar same-day turnaround following last week’s passage of bills aimed at limiting public drag performances and restricting transgender surgeries to adults.

The Metro Council bill calls for new districts to be drawn in time for elections to the reconstituted local government to be held in August. If not, current council members’ terms would be extended by a year.

Legal challenges of the new law are widely expected.

Nashville government, airport bond ratings upgraded as lawmakers take aim at both

(Image credit: Nashville International Airport)

Bond rating agencies are upgrading their outlook on Nashville and its airport even as state lawmakers take aim at both in the purported interest of improving their governance.

Kroll Rating Agency last week upgraded the city of Nashville from AA to AA+, one step below a perfect AAA rating. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor’s raised its long-term and underlying rating for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority from A+ to AA-, with a stable financial outlook.

Republican lawmakers are mulling bills to cut the size of the Metro Nashville Council from 40 voting members to 20 and replace mayoral appointments to the Airport Authority with picks by the governor and the House and Senate speakers. Separate measures would limit how Nashville could spend privilege taxes collected at the city’s convention center and take over appointments to the city’s sports authority.

New TNJ edition alert: Ready or not, here comes the fight over premixed cockails

Hard seltzers for sale in a Nashville grocery store on Jan. 24, 2023. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Could ready-to-drink cocktails be headed to state grocery stores?

— House speaker says Nashville business community behind effort to slash Metro Council, new bill would repeal special tourism taxes in the city.

— New health commissioner not taking questions on rejection of federal HIV funds, freshman lawmaker withdraws bill to give governors two more terms, and unifying legalized gambling.

— Money matters: The big donors and recipients of campaign funds since the November election.

Also: Memphis girds for release of video of fatal police beating, Glenn Funk recuses himself from Jeremy Durham case, Joe Towns catches a break from the Registry, and Cameron Sexton lists the Nashville representatives he likes.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ edition alert: ‘Dumbest’ teachers, unconventional thinking, and nobody here but us RINOs

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters in Nashville on July 6, 2022. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Issue No. 26 of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Lee draws heavy criticism for silence on charter operator’s ‘dumb’ teachers remark.

— Unconventional thinking:  Effort to host RNC in Nashville runs into heavy opposition.

— From the campaign trail: Nobody here but us RINOs, online poll shenanigans, the race for Charlie Sargent’s old seat, and waiting for the gloves to come off in the 5th.

Also: The “poop hits the fan” in Maury County, Jimmy Matlock gets higher ed nod, economic development upheaval around the state, and a new name for invasive carp.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Bid to host RNC in Nashville withdrawn from Metro Council, backers hope to bring it back later

The sponsor of a resolution detailing the framework of hosting the Republican National Convention in Nashville has withdrawn the measure from consideration amid heavy opposition on the Metro Council. Progressive members of the local legislative body have expressed reservations about welcoming the GOP presidential nomination festival to town following the recent Supreme Court decision ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the state high court’s decision to allow a school voucher law to apply only to the capital city and Shelby County, and a slew of other perceived slights by the conservative General Assembly (including splitting the city into three congressional districts earlier this year).

Council members also criticized Mayor John Cooper for negotiating the deal but then having it submitted without any statement of support or accompanying lobbying effort.

The Nashville 2024 Host Committee issued a statement Tuesday to say it wasn’t quite giving up:

This evening we asked Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s administration to withdraw legislation to approve a contract for Nashville to host the Republican Nashville Convention and allow for additional time to address multiple concerns and objections expressed by Metro Council for the event to take place in Nashville in 2024.

It is our optimistic view that Nashville is the ideal American city to host one or both of our nation’s nominating conventions and to demonstrate to the world its ability to host civil and respectful public discourse on issues vital to the future of our country.

As concerns are sufficiently addressed, we hope that Mayor Cooper and Metro Council leaders will refile the legislation at its next meeting this month.

The next council meeting is July 19.


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