Notice & Action needed: Special called meeting and Tn Senate Bill SB0526

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Lauren Rider
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Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:25 pm

Notice & Action needed: Special called meeting and Tn Senate Bill SB0526

Post by Lauren Rider » Tue Mar 21, 2023 1:07 pm

I have shared this with 4th district neighborhood reps...
Notice & ACTION REQUEST to all Knoxville neighborhoods and voters:
1-Council is having a special called meeting Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 6:00pm to discuss the Tennessee State Senate Bill - SB0526 - which mandates a change to the way Knoxville elects it’s district council members without following the course for change and public input as laid out in our city charter. Council will discuss and vote on a Resolution asking SB0526 to be defeated.

special meeting agenda: ... px?ID=1577

SB526: ... ber=SB0526

The Bill: Briggs withdrew sponsorship and another caucus member picked it up.

2-For many decades, Knoxville District Council Members are nominated by a District vote in the Primary Election. The top 2 candidates from the District then run Citywide in the General Election. Every citizen has the opportunity to vote for every member of their City Council. Effectively, all members of city council are accountable to all citizens, not just the citizens from their district.

As granted by the state constitution, Knoxville operates under a “Home Rule Charter,” meaning it is self-governed and the state legislature may not pass private acts to overturn the local charter, which is adopted by local referendum. Knoxville has a process for amending our election processes and citizens are able but have not asked to change the current process. Consideration for change is welcome, the proper course for that is to take it to a ballot for Knoxville voters.

In a nutshell:

As a Home Rule municipality, if the people of Knoxville do not like the way they elect members of City Council, the people can amend their City Charter and change the local election system. The state does not need to mandate how we should elect local representatives.

As permitted by state law, Knoxville has governed it’s own city elections successfully for decades. The first choice of voters in all districts in the primary is almost always upheld in the citywide general. There is no evidence this system reduces the impact of district representation. All current council representatives are the first choice of their districts’ primary and provide a citywide perspective. There have been no requests or local discussion to change our election system. The appropriate way to change this part of the Knoxville charter is to put it on the ballot for a charter change. This undermines the principles of home rule charters.

3-Action: email Senators Nicely, Briggs, Massey, and Lt. Gov. McNally and ask them to let Knoxville voters determine the course of their elections in accordance with current state law and Knoxville's charter. Copy your letter to Will Johnson, city recorder, and ask him to include in the record for the Special Council meeting, March 22, 2023, 6pm.

4-Share this info with any neighbors or city voters and encourage them to contact all Senators voting on SB0526.

5-Sign up to speak at the special called meeting on Wednesday night, 6pm. Call or email Will Johnson to sign up to speak on Wednesday night:
office: 865-215-2075

Please contact me directly if you have questions. -Lauren
Lauren Rider
Knoxville City Council - 4th District
Cell 865-964-3905 -

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