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Local Government Bodies Limited to 20 Members

This information is provided by the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R-Hohenwald, who represents Giles, Lewis, Marshall, Maury and part of Williamson counties.

Hensley writes about legislation that passed the 113th General Assembly, which has adjourned for 2023.

Small Government Efficiency Act becomes law - This law ensures effective local representation and the utmost efficiency for taxpayers.

Known as the Small Government Efficiency Act, the law reins in excessive government growth by lowering the maximum size of metropolitan and municipal legislative bodies in Tennessee to no more than 20 voting members.

Local government bodies exceeding 20 voting members will be required to dissolve and re-appropriate districts using the latest U.S. Census data to ensure equal representation based on population as of May 1, 2023.

If metropolitan and municipal bodies did not complete this task by May 1, the law allows for extending members’ terms one year so redistricting can take place.

Clarifying uses for Nashville convention center’s excess revenue — To honor the intent of a 2009 law that allowed for construction of Music City Center in downtown Nashville, the General Assembly passed a law that clarifies uses for the convention center’s excess tax revenue.

The 2009 law intended for excess revenue to go toward debt service and maintenance of the building, but the city over the years has diverted some revenue to its general fund. This new law clarifies excess tax revenue can only be used for prepayment or elimination of debt service and on capital and operating expenses of the facility.

To ensure oversight on the state level, the bill also adds the state comptroller, state treasurer and the secretary of state as non-voting members of the convention center board of directors.

Tennessee Freedom to Cook Act The Tennessee Freedom to Cook Act The 113th General Assembly has adjourned for 2023, and it was a very successful year. We have taken measures for Tennessee to be a better place to live, work and to raise a family. I will go over some of the laws passed this session.

Small Government Efficiency Act becomes law - A new law ensures effective local representation and the utmost efficiency for taxpayers.

Known as the Small Government Efficiency Act, the law reins in excessive government growth by lowering the maximum size of metropolitan and municipal legislative bodies in Tennessee to no more than 20 voting members.

Local government bodies exceeding 20 voting members will be required to dissolve and re-appropriate districts using the latest federal U.S. Census data to ensure equal representation based on population by May 1, 2023.

If metropolitan and municipal bodies cannot complete this task by May 1, the law allows for extending members’ terms for one year so redistricting can take place.

Clarifying uses for Nashville convention center’s excess revenue — To honor the intent of a 2009 law that allowed for the construction of Music City Center in downtown Nashville, the General Assembly passed a law that clarifies uses for the convention center’s excess tax revenue.

The 2009 law intended for excess revenue to go toward debt service and maintenance of the building, but the city over the years has instead diverted some revenue to its general fund. This new law clarifies excess tax revenue can only be used for prepayment or elimination of debt service as well as on capital and operating expenses of the facility.

To ensure oversight on the state level, the bill also adds the state comptroller, state treasurer and the secretary of state as non-voting members of the convention center’s board of directors.

Tennessee Freedom to Cook Act – The Tennessee Freedom to Cook Act was approved by the General Assembly to protect Tennesseans from potential government attempts to limit the types of appliances they can use in their homes.

The law prevents the state or any local government from banning the sale or installation of appliances used for cooking, space heating, water heating or any other end use based on the source of energy by which they are powered.

It also applies to connection or reconnection of utility services. The law is in response to the federal government expressing interest in discontinuing or restricting the use of home appliances that run on natural gas, such as gas stoves to help combat climate change.

Updating Voting Requirements for Metropolitan Governments - The law prevents metropolitan governments from requiring supermajority votes on improvements, renovations or the replacement of existing facilities owned by the metropolitan government. Under this change, a simple majority will suffice.

Preventing reparations on the local level - Local governments throughout the country are exploring “reparations” or payments to individuals who are descendants of slaves. Shelby County has allocated $5 million to study and administer reparations proposals.

To prevent spending taxpayer money on this divisive issue, legislators passed a law that prohibits local governments in Tennessee from using funds to study or disperse reparations.

Equal public records access - The General Assembly passed a law to make certain that citizens have equal access to public records in the state.

It ensures that regardless of occupation, no person gets expeditious treatment over another when requesting public records.

Allowing emergency services to use sports betting revenue – This law allows local governments to use sports betting revenue on emergency services.

Expanding local governments’ access to HIV funds – This law helps county governments afford HIV treatment for those in county jails.

It allows local governments to access federal funding allocated for HIV treatment. The law does not create a mandate, rather a pathway for county governments to choose to use federal funding.

Expanding the talent pool for industrial development boards - The law removes a requirement that members of the board of directors for an industrial development corporation reside in the county in which the corporation was established.

Allowing industrial development boards to choose to allow membership outside the county will help them recruit the best minds for the job.

You may contact Sen. Hensley at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN., 37243, or by calling 615-741-3100, by calling toll free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100 or by faxing 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN., 38462 or phone 931-796-2018 or his cell phone at 931-212-8823, or E-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov



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