Metro Council wants legal to interpret special session bills

Metro courthouse city hall
Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 19:31:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Members of Nashville's council sent a letter to Mayor John Cooper this week asking for Metro legal to interpret bills passed during the special session.

The eight bills and one resolution would change the way Nashville deals with COVID-19. They would also alter how school board elections are held in the state.

The letter, which was signed by 24 members, asks for legal to explain how the city's operations will be changed. Council member at-large Bob Mendes posted the letter on his Twitter feed.

Mendes voiced his concern over a number of the bills. He said, while he tried to read many of them himself, the bill language was often difficult to understand.

"Any time there's change, it presents difficulties," said Mendes. "All the change is in limiting our power. Nashville has been dealing with disease since malaria happened every summer since the 1800s. Going from having local control and having to deal with disease to having to look with the state for everything for executive orders, for health decisions, for [when] do we close schools? What happens to businesses? Looking to the state is going to make it more difficult to protect Nashvillians."

Mendes lists prohibitions on city employees being vaccinated, on checking vaccination status at businesses and prohibitions on mask mandates in Metro facilities in the tweet. He also questioned how a rule to keep Metro from using funds to enforce any federal mandates.

The councilman also asked for a comprehensive plan to address the legislature's ideas.

Mendes said the new laws could lead to litigation from the city.