Power struggles between state, local lawmakers play out through introduced bills

Tennessee legislature vote buttons.jpeg
Posted at 6:56 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 23:17:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Who has more power in deciding how to spend your tax dollars: Lawmakers at the state capitol, or councilmembers closer to home?

That's the power struggle already playing out in Nashville just two days into the legislative session, including a new bill filed this week in the fallout of the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"This has been building and building, we've fought about lots of other issues," said NewsChannel 5 political analyst Pat Nolan.

It's a back and forth bleeding over from last year, including when the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a school voucher program. Metro sued, saying it would disproportionately take money away from its own schools, along with the city of Memphis. The cities lost that suit in the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Then, the more liberal-leaning Metro council voted against hosting the Republican National Convention in Nashville next year.

Now this week, Republicans in the state house want to limit the size of Metro's Council from 40 seats, down to just 20.

"We've gone from it being kind of simmering all the time to pretty much all out war," Nolan said.

After the fall of Roe v Wade, Metro Council asked city staffers to look into the possibility of helping Metro employees get abortions in other states where they're legal, under the city's health plan.

This week, a new bill proposed by Rep. Debra Moody (R-Covington) would make that illegal.

"It's unfortunate they don't get along with each other better," Nolan said. "Individually they probably do, but collectively one side sees so much red on the other side, that side sees so much blue on the other side."

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