NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — Tennessee lawmakers have passed new legislation, which cuts Metro Nashville Council in half. Governor Bill Lee signed legislation that limits metropolitan governments to 20 council members, but Nashville’s Metro Council is the only government body affected.
Currently, Metro Nashville Council has 40 council members, but under this new law, they are limited to 20. Some legislators believe the limit will make the council more efficient.
“Unfortunately, it’s like them pushing a boulder uphill through mud,” Rep. William Lamberth said. “It is very difficult for councils of that size.”
Opponents of the law say this will limit Nashvillians’ voices, especially minorities.
“This will give the supermajority the opportunity to gain and control in districts they normally didn’t have control in,” said Clifton Harris, CEO and President of Urban League of Middle Tennessee. “It’s going to impact the Black and Brown community here in Nashville-Davidson County significantly.”
In the next 30 days, Metro Nashville is required to re-draw its district lines and have them approved by May 1. This essentially removes 20 council members and changes representation for thousands of Nashvillians.
“When you have 35 district council members, that means an individual council member has about 20,000 citizens that they represent,” said Metro Nashville-Davidson County Vice Mayor Jim Shulman. “Going with what the state has proposed will be at least double.”
Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, some leaders believe it’s time we come together and remember we are one state.
“We are a lot of communities but we are one state,” said Former District 32 Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell (2011-2019). “When one city rises we all rise, when one city does not, we all go down, so we need to be thinking how we can benefit the whole state.”
To learn more about the law, click here.