City officials should work with the Tennessee Municipal League (TML) to stay abreast of legislative happenings. The league is the eyes, ears, and voice of cities on Capitol Hill. City officials should inform the league as early as possible of the need for legislation or the city’s intent to have legislation introduced. This same advice holds true for other organizations that want to have legislation affecting cities adopted.
Many awkward situations and much embarrassment can be avoided simply by informing the league of proposed legislation. Following are examples of what can happen when cities don’t coordinate efforts with TML.
The league drafted a general bill amending a particular section in T.C.A. A city had a bill drafted and introduced that amended the same section in its entirety. The league’s bill passed, and the city’s bill passed afterwards. Since the league’s bill amended only part of the section and the city’s bill amended the whole section, the city’s bill wiped out the amendment affected by the league’s bill. The league had to draft and gain passage of similar legislation during the next legislative session. This embarrassing incident could have been avoided by one phone call from the city to the league.
In a similar situation, an organization that works for cities had legislation drafted and introduced, but did not inform the league. The legislation died, partly because the league had not lobbied for it. Fortunately, there was a similar legislation pending in a committee. After a plea for help from the organization and a great deal of effort, the league was able to aid the organization in passing that legislation.
So, it is extremely important to follow this rule: Inform TML of legislation your city needs or intend to have introduced.