Reported by: Webb Wright
“I thought this would be the simplest, easiest bill that I’ve every filed.” That’s House Bill 475, which state representative Mike Carter says is not against annexation, but for the people’s right to vote. “47 states in the nation soon to be Tennessee being the only state in the nation that allows people’s property to be taken without a vote. We are one of the three non referendum states left in America. There have been four referendum on annexation across the state over the past three years, three have been successful by wide margins. Only one failed. ” Some local organizations say, city governments have too much power under the current system. “As a city wanting to expand their borders through the urban growth boundry, they don’t have to vote, they can just take over the land and the residents are stuck with it,” says Chris Matthews with Right to Vote TN. A similar version of the bill currently in the Senate would put an 18 month moratorium on any annexation in the state of Tennessee. Carter says he would amend his bill to add that if asked, but says he just looking to put the power in the voters hands. “This bill only requires the public to approve what their officials are doing. When the city comes to you and they incorporate you, they double your regulation, most of the time they double your taxes, they bring the debt of that entity on to your private property and they have to stand good for it. A person who is about to have that to be done to should have a right to vote.” Carter says he wants those who favor annexation to take their case to the people. “They don’t have to sell me on annexation, they have to sell the people that are going to have to vote on it.” Carter hopes to present his bill to the House finance committee for a vote on Tuesday. The senate version of the bill with the moratorium is expected to the senate floor next week. The house version is expected to go for a vote on the house floor the following week.