Fifty-eight Tennessee House Republicans are named co-sponsors on the anti-sanctuary city bill HB2315.
Adding the bill’s chief sponsor, State Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin), means that 80 percent of the House Republicans support strengthening and closing the loopholes in Tennessee’s existing anti-sanctuary city statute. (Seventy-four of the 99 members of the Tennessee House of Representatives this session are Republicans, while 25 are Democrats.)
Tennessee’s anti-sanctuary city law passed in 2009, only addresses written policies that prohibit local governments, officials and employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. This narrower definition of “sanctuary city” would likely not have applied to at least one of the sanctuary city ordinances proposed by the Metro Nashville Council last June.
The two ordinances proposed by the Metro Nashville Council would have made Nashville the most liberal sanctuary city in the country. One of the bills included a “don’t ask so you don’t have to know or tell” practice prohibiting Davidson County and Nashville employees, including law enforcement, from providing pertinent information to ICE regarding criminal aliens.
Reedy’s bill expands the definition of sanctuary city to include practices that obstruct cooperation with federal immigration authorities and help shield illegal aliens who have also committed crimes. North Carolina and Georgia have included the expanded definition in their anti-sanctuary city laws.
The Metro ordinances, drafted with the assistance of the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, were withdrawn due to overwhelming grassroots opposition and pressure from state legislators.
State Sen. Mark Green’s (R-Clarksville) Senate companion bill, HB2332, passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee last week on a 7 – 1 vote and is ready to be scheduled for a Senate floor vote.
Reedy’s bill is scheduled to be heard in the House State Government Subcommittee on Wednesday. With 59 House members already co-sponsoring the bill, if it makes it to the House floor, it already has enough votes to pass.
In a February ad released by a PAC called Tennesseans for Good State Government, GOP gubernatorial candidate Speaker Beth Harwell takes credit for “outlaw[ing] sanctuary cities,” most likely a reference to the narrow 2009 law which the Metro Nashville Council’s ordinances would have bypassed and which Rep. Reedy’s bill will fix.
Harwell is not yet listed as a co-sponsor of Reedy’s bill.
Here is the list of 58 Republican co-sponsors of the bill, listed in alphabetical order: