NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson) was blunt when Sen. London Lamar (D-Memphis) asked him if a bill to halve Nashville’s Metro Council was in retribution to the city denying the RNC.

She followed up with a question asking him if the answer was no, then why bring the bill in the first place?

“Well, the answer to the first question is no,” Watson said. “The answer to the second question is we have the constitutional authority to do it.”

Putting the question of whether that’s an overreach of power aside, last October, Republican leaders confirmed there had been discussion to punish Nashville immediately after the RNC denial.

“We’re not going to play our cards on exactly what we’re going to do,” Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said then. “But I will tell you that Metro government is not doing what’s best for them economically, and then we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Fast-forwarding back to Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) said he’s actually in favor of bringing political conventions to the city, but this is the wrong way to punish.

“I hardly think that the Republican National Committee is going to want the ‘Welcome to Nashville’ message to read like a hostage video,” Yarbro said in a Senate State and Local Government Committee meeting.

Local leaders have promised legal action if and when this bill is signed into law, which Yarbro warned is bad for every party involved. “The question of who can win in court or who should win in court or who’s going to win economically or power-wise, like everybody loses.”

Still, the committee advanced the bill along party lines.

It now heads to the Senate floor on Thursday. If it passes there, it heads to the governor for his signature.