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Small Government Efficiency Act becomes law

Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday signed legislation that ensures effective local representation and the utmost efficiency for taxpayers. 

House Bill 48, also known as the Small Government Efficiency Act, reins in excessive government growth by lowering the maximum size of metropolitan and municipal legislative bodies in Tennessee to no more than 20 voting members.  It passed on Monday in the House chamber and on Thursday morning in the Senate.

The city of Nashville, which would fall under the scope of House Bill 48, has a population of 690,000 and is the 21st largest city in the United States. Nashville’s 40-member council is currently the nation’s third largest, just behind New York City which has a 51-member council and a population of 8.8 million, and Chicago, which has a 50-member council and a population 2.7 million.  

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“This isn’t just about Nashville,” bill sponsor House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, told members on the House floor on Monday.  “This is about every single city in the state not (making) the mistake that Nashville made 50 years ago when it (decided on) 40 members. We don’t want any city in this state to expand beyond 20.” 

Local government bodies exceeding 20 voting members will be required to dissolve and re-appropriate current districts using the latest federal U.S. Census data to ensure equal representation based on population by May 1, 2023. 

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