AG: Nothing Wrong with Legislature Overriding Nashville’s Sexual Discrimination Ordinance

The state attorney general’s office says there’s nothing unconstitutional about a proposed state law to override a Nashville city ordinance prohibiting city contractors from practicing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Here’s the short version of the two questions posed by Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville, and the answers provided by Attorney General Bob Cooper:
Question 1. If enacted, would this bill (HB600) contravene the authority of local governments to designate the terms of their contracts according to locally acceptable standards and practices, as provided in Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-2-201?
Answer 1: Nothing in the bill conflicts with the general contracting authority given cities incorporated under the mayor-aldermanic form of government in Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-2-201. Under principles of statutory construction, the law, if enacted, would control over any more general or earlier enacted statute that might conflict with it.
Question 2. Is the retroactive application of the bill to existing, lawfully enacted ordinances and resolutions by local governments unconstitutional?
Answer 2: No. The authority of cities and counties is subject to change by the General Assembly A city, county, or private citizen has no constitutionally protected right in an existing ordinance or resolution that contravenes state law. Any impact of the bill on any existing contracts would not substantially impair the value of the contract to the private party.
Full Opinion HERE.

One thought on “AG: Nothing Wrong with Legislature Overriding Nashville’s Sexual Discrimination Ordinance

  1. Donna Locke

    The actions of the state legislature and our governors on behalf of the business lobby have resulted in the placing of unfair burdens on the taxpayers, damage to our communities and ourselves, and outright theft of our tax money. And this is constitutional? If so, we aren’t obligated to abide by any such rules.

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