Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The One Where Metro Council Members Become Lobbyists to the General Assembly

The proper operation of democratic government requires ... that members of the metropolitan council in the exercise of their official functions be independent, impartial, and responsible only to the people of Nashville and Davidson County.

- - The Code of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

And yet, Council Member Jim Gotto is introducing two bills next week that contravene state immigration laws in hopes of lobbying Tennessee's General Assembly to change its laws:
Gotto acknowledged these limitations [that his bills if passed cannot be enforced] but said he hoped the measures would still spark dialogue and put public pressure on the state legislature [to change their laws].
So, rather than introducing bills based on his legislative responsibilities in Nashville and Davidson County, Jim Gotto is resorting to what we might call "legislative activism," i.e., attempting to use his seat of power to influence the public into lobbying state legislators to follow his own political agenda.

Passing unenforceable laws is a waste of taxpayer money and council time. And I have to ask whether Mr. Gotto's attempt to influence the public rather than allowing the public to influence him violates the Metro Charter. Perhaps Jim Gotto should worry more about representing constituents and less about trying to marshal them to lobby for his cause.

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