On Wednesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – host Leahy welcomed state representative Jay Reedy from Erin, Tennessee to the show to talk about his recent letter to Mayor Briley putting him on notice for breaking the anti-sanctuary law with his recent executive order.
Towards the end of the hour, Reedy explained that everyday citizens can contact the Davidson County chancery court and file a complaint against the Mayor for violating the state law that will inevitably deny Tennesseans of several thousands of dollars and jobs in lost grants as a result of the illegal executive order.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend, state representative Jay Reedy. And Jay, we had a story about your response. And you lead the way with an announcement yesterday and a letter to Mayor David Briley and the officials in Nashville that a number, I think about 40 state representatives and state Senators also signed. Jay, welcome to the Tennessee Star Report.
Reedy: Well good morning. I’m glad to be here.
Leahy: Thanks so much for getting up and calling in here at the 6:30 hour. Jay, the background on this, and by the way, I have to say you’re from Erin, Tennessee. ERIN. I’ve not visited Erin yet but it is on my list. It’s already one of my favorite places because I’m told it’s called Erin because Erin because it’s Irish. That’s another name for Ireland. And it was founded by Irish immigrants who worked on a railroad in the 19th century. Is that right?
Reedy: That is correct. Of course, there are the lime kilns that are still surrounding in Houston county and that’s were Erin’s located at. And that’s right. You need to come see us in the third full week in March when the Irish festival that takes place. Here you have a county of 8,000 people that swells to over 20,000 on that Saturday for the parade and all the festivities. It runs a little over a week all of the fanfare that goes on so it’s a beautiful community. Beautiful county within the beautiful state of Tennessee.
Leahy: I’m proud of my own Irish heritage and my name, Michael Patrick Leahy is Irish so I”m going to put a plugin. OK? If My plug is going to be, I don’t know if they have this, I”m going to shamelessly beg (Chuckles) whoever runs it. I want to be the grand marshall of that event some year.
Reedy: There you go. I’ll put your name on the list. I’ve never been invited to do so. The Reedy name is following the family tree. I’m Scot-Irish.
Leahy: Scots-Irish sure.
Reedy: And it’s interesting with a grandfather to find out he was born in Ireland. But come to find out the father before that came from Scotland. OK. That explains a lot.
Leahy: Well a lot of Tennesseans are Scots-Irish. Like Andrew Jackson was. A strong strong connection to all of Ireland. Both the Scots-Irish and the Irish from the southern part of Ireland. I guess I am part southern. (Chuckles)
Reedy: There you go.
Leahy: So we will be visiting Erin at some point.
Reedy: We’d be glad to have you.
Leahy: But let’s talk about this anti-sanctuary city bill that you passed that apparently Mayor David Briley somehow thinks that he doesn’t have to follow. So tell us about the bill itself first. You sponsored it.
Reedy: Well, it was the last year 2018. House bill 23:15. So many going on. And so House bill 23:15. I was called racist. They tried everything trying to kill this bill. But with my friend and representative Sheila Butt was still in the house with me on the House floor when I filed this bill. Between the two of us, we had 64 sponsors on the House side.
And then I talked to leadership and I said, “I’ve got the signatures. Can I bring it right to the House floor.” Then leadership said, “You better take your lumps through the political, the committee process before you bring it to the House floor.” And I said, “OK. I will do it.” It was insane the conversations that we had. It was tried every which way. It’s unconstitutional. All the reasons. They pulled out all the stops trying to kill the bill.
Leahy: The bill simply says that cities, city governments have to cooperate with the state and follow the laws of the state of Tennessee and the United States when it comes to illegal aliens right basically?
Reedy: That is correct. And it was interesting, the year before that Nashville was pushing for under the previous Mayor. Somebody brought a resolution for the city council trying to push for sanctuary then. And even the Davidson county lawyer said, “No, it’s unconstitutional.” So they’ve come off with it.
That’s where we found the chink in the armor and we said, “OK, we’ve got to firm this up.” Representative Joe Carr back in 2009 started the process because where we discovered we better put some teeth in this law. So it was basically rolling off of what Joe Carr started and now we’re at this point.
And really all that we have done was taken this law saying that we will take and work with ICE, the federal government because it was the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act. Which was the federal law 8:USC:1373 which provided that no state or local entity can in any way restrict it’s law enforcement officials authorities regarding an individual citizenship or immigration status.
Leahy: That’s a federal law that says no state or city organization can prohibit their law enforcement officials from communicating with federal agents. Any federal agents about the immigration status of individuals. That’s a federal law correct?
Reedy: And that’s right. Where do I find this? It’s in the Tennessee code annotated TCA. What we have done and put into law in the state of Tennessee is in 7-68-103. Now what Briley has just done, so when we slap the hands of a city local entity, a county if they’re trying to move to a sanctuary area. Of course, a citizen can file it in court saying, “Hey this is against the law.” What I pulled up on the Tennessee.gov website on what Nashville, Davidson county can lose in economic development grants. And if you like, I can share the three grants that they’ve got coming.
Leahy: Yeah. Let’s talk about that. And so I want to get to the three grants that they can stop because of this law. And so David Briley’s reckless disregard for the law is jeopardizing these state funds in your statement. He holds this press conference at nine o’clock yesterday and goes through these litanies of things that are basically instructing Metro employees to violate both state and federal law.
So your statement I thought was quite powerful. I’ll just read a couple of elements to it and then we’ll go through the three things that the state can do immediately to basically comply with the law and then punish Nashville for violating the law. You said, “Nashville is subject to the laws of the state of Tennessee and the United States of America.
And the laws of both are clear. Sanctuary policies that shield illegal aliens are themselves illegal.” That’s what your statement said. And in addition, here’s where the big punch comes from. “The state law states clearly that local government entities that do not comply are potentially ineligible to enter into any grant contract with the department of economic and community development in the state.” That’s what your statement says.
So, let’s set that up. So here are the state funds that because of yesterdays executive order basically David Briley is saying, we don’t want those funds. So go ahead and tell our audience what those state funds are.
Reedy: And this is public information that you can find on the state’s website and it’s one the grants going out to Harrow. There is a capital investment of $524,000 dollars that will create 27 new jobs but the grant amount coming from the state is $135,000 dollars.
Leahy: So that goes away?
Reedy: Yeah. If any entity local government finds guilty of a sanctuary city any grants that they have coming to them will be put on hold.
Leahy: Will be put on hold. That money will not be coming until they change their…
Reedy: Their stance.
Leahy: You are outlining all the money that Mayor David Briley is giving away from the state because he issued this reckless executive order yesterday in which he’s basically defying state and federal law. So, one of the grants that he’s losing is 100 and some odd thousand from Harrow Health.
Reedy: It was $135,000 dollars. But let’s do a quick recap. House bill 23:15 anti-sanctuary bill. It allows a state resident to take a complaint to the chancery court. So somebody, Nashville, Davidson county if they are listening. They could go to chancellery court saying, “Hey, they broke the law.” And so House bill 23:15 was structured so that ineligibility for an ECD grant is only triggered after a court finding a violation of the statute. State agencies and localities are eligible to receive ECD grants once the sanctuary policies are rescinded, repealed, or otherwise not in effect.
Leahy: So let’s just stop there for a second. People in our listening audience right now. If you are a resident of Davidson county, you can go today to chancery court and file a complaint that Mayor Briley is violating the state law. Is that correct?
Reedy: That’s correct. And here’s what those citizens are going to prevent from happening with these funds disappearing from the ECD grants. Harrow Health with $135,000 dollars. That’s 27 jobs. Another is the expansion of Pilot.com being incorporated. That’s worth 554 jobs. And that ECD grant is $773,500. OK? But here’s the big one. Western Express. 225 jobs. Now we’re talking about we need more truck drivers across the state of Tennessee so they were going to do an expansion. And that’s $1.3 million dollars. We’re talking almost 800 jobs for Nashville that the Mayor doesn’t want I guess.
Leahy: Apparently doesn’t want. I don’t think the Mayor wants actually people that have jobs to live in Nashville. I think he wants people. No really, I’m serious. He doesn’t want taxpayers and American citizens to have jobs in Nashville. What he wants is to have basically illegal aliens receiving federal benefits and state benefits and city benefits regardless of whether or not they actually violating more laws. That’s what he’s about.
Listen to the full hour:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jay Reedy” by Jay Reedy. Photo “David Briley” by David Briley. Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by euthman. CC BY-SA 2.0.