Do you remember Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story? With the way most local news items are covered — first as a burst of new information, followed by a flurry of coverage fixated on a certain angle until we’ve moved onto the next thing— a lot of what’s really happening gets swept under the rug.
For instance, as we stepped into this year’s General Assembly, Nashvillians expected the Republican majority to enact some form of retributive legislation to hit back at Metro Government for its refusal to host the Republican National Convention (RNC). Sure enough, attention was directed to bills HB48 and SB87 which were filed and are set to cut the number of Metro council members in half. Not only do these bills have the potential to strengthen the council’s influence over the mayor’s office, but they also open up the possibility to allot council positions a full-time salary. Does that sound like retribution to you? Clearly, this particular narrative of how the General Assembly and Metro Council wrestle over policy has a few holes. So, as Harvey would say, “Now, the rest of the story.”
THE REAL RETRIBUTIVE LEGISLATION
In truth, the state has hit back at Metro Council’s attempts to subvert its agenda, just not by enacting policy endorsed by past council members themselves. Which brings us to an actual retributive bill making its way through the State Office Building at Cordell Hull: HB90. Put forward by pro-life legislator Debra Moody (R-81), the bill takes direct aim at three separate pieces of legislation passed by the city council over the course of 2022: RS2022-1734, BL2022-1372, and RS2022-1734; all of which were introduced in an attempt to undermine the state’s new abortion laws.
Following a resolution passed by the council on July 5, 2022, which opposed the Supreme Court decision, the council and mayor’s office sprung into action. First, they took up their soapboxes: CM Welsch declared the Supreme Court “illegitimate” while councilmembers Kathleen Murphy and Delishia Porterfield denounced the state, claiming that Tennessee had taken away proper healthcare from “anyone with a uterus.”
Then came the legislation. Most people caught wind of RS2022-1734, a resolution passed by Metro to reallocate and designate half a million dollars of the city budget as grant money available to Planned Parenthood. Originally, the legislation earmarked $150,000 toward funding both transportation and accommodations for out-of-state abortions. Instead, the council voted to retract the spending on abortion accommodation—while still granting the $500,000 of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood on October 4, 2022.
But it was two lesser-known pieces of legislation that resulted in a more covert type of damage, affecting any business unwilling to accommodate abortion practices. On July 19, 2022, a resolution passed giving the Metropolitan Employee Benefit Board the ability to audit businesses located in Davidson County. This resolution would indirectly lead to another piece of legislation by allowing the Benefit Board to assess all businesses in order to ensure they provided transportation, accommodation, and other related costs for employees “seeking medical treatment unavailable in Tennessee.” Cough cough, abortion.
The filing of the bill that followed this resolution made changes to Metro’s Do Better bill by requiring companies seeking either economic and community development incentive grants or payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) incentives to provide out-of-state abortion accommodations for their employees. This bill passed on August 16, 2022, effectively preventing any of these types of business negotiations between Metro and companies, currently occupying or seeking to relocate to Nashville, if those companies do not agree to pay for employee healthcare that provides access to abortion.
ONE BILL TO RUIN THEM ALL
Moody’s HB90 includes language that directly takes out all three pieces of legislation. The bill, if passed, would prohibit local governments from spending money to assist women in obtaining abortions. In other words, it will prevent the use of tax dollars to fund travel and accommodation for out-of-state abortions– which, as mentioned above, was a provision Metro Council attempted to push through before cutting it out of the final Planned Parenthood grant resolution. The following language in Moody’s bill goes on to address the other two pieces of legislation: “This prohibition includes expending funds as part of a health benefit plan or for travel to a state where abortion is legal.” A shot directly to the heart of Metro’s BL2022-1372, prohibiting their Health Board from including this as a requirement to apply for PILOT incentives.
“And that’s the rest of the story.”
From Megan Podsiedlik
U-Haul released its 2022 growth index. See how Nashville fares (NBJ) In 2022, year-over-year arrivals and departures both decreased a bit. On the bright side, the pace of arrivals declined (-3%) at a lower rate than the drop in departures (-4%). Tennessee was the 6th fastest growing state in the U.S., slipping three spot from No. 3 in last year’s growth rankings, and five spots from its No. 1 spot in 2020.
Nashville tourism projected to climb in 2023 after record-breaking year (Tennessean) Nashville expects to welcome 15 million visitors outside 50 miles of the city in 2023. The large majority of visitors are projected to be domestic travelers. Visitor spending is projected to be about $9.3 billion in 2023, up 5% from 2022.
Critics dissatisfied with plan to rebuild Broadway viaduct (Post) Industry experts, activists and Metro councilmembers alike have noticed that a new plan to replace the Broadway viaduct doesn’t look new at all.
Gun Bills To Keep An Eye On Those who are 18 to 20 can now openly carry firearms in Tennessee after a settlement was reached between the Firearms Policy Coalition and the state.
Republican Rep. Jay Reedy filed a House bill that would allow local directors of schools to essentially deputize certain employees, like teachers or other personnel, to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds.
Democratic Sen. London Lamar of Memphis introduced a bill requiring the Department of Health to track public health impacts of gun violence in communities.
Moms Demand Action Tennessee (MDAT) plans to either introduce its own bill, or support someone else’s, that would require secure storage of guns in cars. MDAT has also pushed for red flag laws, but at present, the groups has been unable to find a Republican sponsor.
- State buys small parcel related to Broadway viaduct effort (Post)
- Sylvan Park commercial property sells for $2.15M (Post)
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar here.
🎧 On our Spotify Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week; On the Radar, a playlist of the best bands coming through town in the future; Nashville Sounds, an ever-growing sample of the local music scene.
⛸ Predators vs. Jets @ Bridgestone Arena, 7p, $20, Info
🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info
+ Two-step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p
🎸 Tedeschi Trucks Band @ Ryman, 8p, $49.50, Info
💥 2 Year Anniversary Celebration @ Lucky's 3-Star Bar, 8p, Free, Info
🎙 Sweet Lizzy Project @ Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie, 8p, Free, Info
🎻 Bluegrass/Old Time Jam @ The 5 Spot, 8:30p, Free, Info
🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street
ON THE RADAR
🎹 Piano Trios of Haydn & Ravel @ The Schermerhorn, 2/1, 6p, Free, Info
🎸 Lotus @ Brooklyn Bowl, 2/16, 8p, $20, Info
🎙 Weyes Blood @ Brooklyn Bowl, 2/22, 8p, $23+, Info
+ Folk-pop, a modern Joan Baez
🎻 Billy Strings @ Bridgestone, 2/24-25, 8p, Info
🎻 Billy Strings @ Ryman, 2/26, 8p, Info
+ Only eligible if you purchased a ticket to one of his previous nights' Bridgestone shows
🥁 Os Mutantes @ The Blue Room, 3/1, 7p, $25, Info
+ Brazilian psychedelic rock band, part of the Tropicália movement of the late 1960s
🕺 Lettuce @ The Brooklyn Bowl, 3/17-18, $32, Info
🎸 Goose @ The Ryman, 3/31-4/1, Info
+ Funky jam band