Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Update: What happened at the March 20th council meeting


This was a pretty boring meeting. There was no soaring rhetoric, or sharp exchanges and nothing in the video is worth watching, but here it is. Below is a summary of the most important actions of the Council at this meeting. 

Ordinance No. BL2012-118 which would provide property tax abatement for the Gaylord-Dollywood snow-water park, passed first reading without discussion. Since this bill has been talked about so much, I thought someone would object on first reading, although that is not normal done.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2011-83 by Councilman Stanley on second reading which would allow Metro water services to extend water lines to residential properties currently served by private wells was withdrawn, but Councilman Stanley promised to bring it back in a new form. 

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-110  on second reading which would permit the electronic filing of annual disclosure statements and benefits reporting statements passed without discussion. This was a "good government" bill that deserved to pass.

ORDINANCE NO. BL2012-115 on second reading which would prohibit smoking on hospital grounds and within the public right-of-way in the vicinity of hospital entrances passed by voice vote. This bill expands the smoking ban on public property from 50 feet from a hospital entrance to 200 feet from a hospital entrance. Only Councilman Doug Pardue raised questions but did not make a strong argument. I am disappointed. This was an opportunity for a conservative council member to make a principled argument against government expansion.

Ordinance BL2012-88 and Ordinance BL2012-92, both of which concerned private property rights and the power of government to regulate private property passed without discussion. These were good bills that deserved to pass. I thought they might have proved controversial. What do I know?

Ordinance BL2012-103 by Council Member Dominy on third reading  was the controversial bill that would have permitted an asphalt plant to be built in Antioch. The bill was deferred indefinitely at the sponsors request.

An ordinance naming the General Sessions Courtroom 1A located in the Justice A.A. Birch Building in honor of Judge Leon Ruben passed.

A memorializing resolution requesting the Civil Service Commission not require convicted felons to reveal they are convicted felons when they apply for Metro jobs passed.

A special late memorializing resolution which was push back against the state's attempt to regulate local government's authority passed. It was a weakly worded resolution which expressed opposition to unfunded mandates from the state. Robert Duvall made the point that all of the authority a local government has is authority granted by the State. Who can be against unfunded mandates? I understand what was behind this bill, but since it was such a weakly worded bill, I see no harm in letting it pass by voice vote.

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