House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) issued a press release Friday morning that included a letter over their names to the State Attorney General (AG) requesting an opinion on Metro Nashville Council’s recently proposed sanctuary city ordinance, which passed a second of three required readings on Tuesday in a 25 to 8 vote.
Accompanying the letter to the AG was a statement from Speaker Harwell:
Our local, state, and federal enforcement officials must be able to work together to keep our families and communities safe. The Tennessee General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a ban on sanctuary cities in 2009, and this ordinance demonstrates a reckless disregard for state and federal law. Speaker Pro Tempore Tracy and I are seeking clarity from the Attorney General so we can determine how best to proceed. This is not only public safety issue for Nashville, but for our whole state. – Speaker Beth Harwell
Harwell’s statement included a link to the 2009 legislation.
The letter, on official 110th General Assembly letter head, dated June 23, 2017, and addressed to The Honorable Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reported, signed by Senator Jim Tracy, Speaker Pro Tempore and Representative Beth Harwell, Speaker of the House, reads:
Dear General Slatery:
As you know, the council of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County is considering passage of Ordinance No. BL2017-739 relative to illegal immigration. We are writing to you today to seek a formal opinion as to whether the ordinance, if adopted, would have any effect on enforcement of Federal immigration laws or on current state law, including Tennessee Code Annotated Title 7, Chapter 68, intended to ensure compliance with the Federal law.
As always, we appreciate the exceptional work that your staff provides to this General Assembly and to the citizens of Tennessee. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
You can see the letter, as sent, here:
The Metro Council is scheduled to have a third and final reading on the proposed ordinance July 6.
There has been no indication as to when the AG’s opinion would be released.