Tuesday, January 21, 2020

What's on the Council Agenda for 1/21/2020: Banning idleing cars, paid family leave, changes to scooter rules.

by Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, January 21st at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse. Here is a link to the Council agenda and the Council staff analysis. For those who want to watch the Council meeting, the meeting are more interesting if you know what is going on. They are still not very interesting, but more interesting. You don't have to watch the Council meetings and yet you can still be informed, because I will watch it for you and then a couple days later post a summary of the most important Council actions and I will post a video of the meeting and highlight the most interesting parts. Below is a summary of the agenda, highlighting what I deem to be the most important items.

Following the opening prayer and the pledge the Council votes to confirm or elect members to boards and commissions. Election to the Community Oversight Board is to be delayed to Feb. 4th, is my understanding.  However, the agenda shows two nominees for confirmation to this board.  These two may be the nominees of the mayor.  Two members of this board are appointed by the mayor (I think) but most are nominees from the community.  For anyone interested in the process of how vacancies will be filled to this board, see timestamp 10:35 of the last Council meeting at this link.

The next item of business is the public comment period. So far, I am pleasantly surprised that this opportunity has not been abused by grandstanding activist. I keep expecting that to happen.


Resolution RS2020-149 appropriates $587,900 to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office so the sheriff's office can have the capacity to house federal prisoners.  This will earn the city about a half million dollars. Some members of the Council initially opposed this, thinking this would lead to the detaining of prisoners for violating national immigration laws but it has been clarified that that will not be the case, so there should not be opposition to this because of that concern. This proposal was part of the deal with the Comptroller to approve Nashville's financial plan.
Resolution RS2020-172 commends "Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for Executive Order 11 regarding paid family leave, and calling for all areas of Metro Nashville government to implement paid family leave policies equal to or greater than the paid family leave outlined in the aforementioned executive order." I would not support this without a provision that such paid family leave not cost the city any money.  Governor Lee has not satisfactorily explained how the State will pay for this expanded employee benefit.
Bills on Second Reading
Bill BL2019-109 makes changes in the city policy toward scooters or what is termed 

"shared urban mobility devices (SUMDs)." Back in July 2019 the Council passed a bill cancelling all scooter permits and allowing existing scooter companies to operate with half the number of scooters they currently had on the streets while the Traffic and Parking came up with a RFP (request for proposal) system to replace the current system. This bill extends the time the Traffic and Parking Commission has to develop its RFP system and changes the guidelines for what would be in the RFP.  Some of the guidelines are more specific and this also authorizes the Traffic and Parking Commission to set fees to charge to the scooter companies to carry out the enforcement of the agreements. The Commission would not have to come back before the Council to have their fee amount approved. This is better than the previous bill in my view in that it does not limit the number of providers of scooters to only three, however it restrict each provider to only 500 scooters.  I don't support that restriction because there may be some economy of scale. This requires the RFP to have a commitment to safety including helmets.  I don't like requiring helmets.  There is a lot in this I don't like, but I fear if this does not pass a complete ban may pass and I do not want to see scooters banned.  So if I had a vote, I would reluctantly voted for this bill. 
Bill BL2020-114 would limit the amount of time a vehicle could sit still with the engine idling. Currently the only restriction is a prohibition of a running motor vehicle from being left unattended unless the vehicle is on private residential property and is equipped with a remote start device that prohibits operation of the vehicle while unattended. This resolution would prohibit a stopped or parked motor vehicle from idling for more than three minutes, or for longer than one minute if the vehicle is within a school zone. There are a few exceptions in the bill.  I oppose this. 
None of the bills on thrid reading are of interest. 

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