Nashville Metro Council approved on Tuesday a workaround attempt to sidestep the Tennessee state law banning sanctuary city policies via legislation that bans the use of license plate scanner (LPR) technology.
BL2022-1115 amends “Section 13.08.080 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws pertaining to the use of License Plate Scanner (LPR) technology to exclude assisting with immigration enforcement as an allowed use of LPRs.”
The legislation was sponsored by councilmembers Bob Mendes, Dave Rosenberg, Burkley Allen, Ginny Welsch, Zulfat Suara, Tom Cash, Sean Parker, Emily Benedict, and Delishia Porterfield.
It passed 32-1, and Mayor Cooper’s office signed off on Wednesday.
Previously reported, when initially filed, council staff declared the legislation illegal under current state law, and action was repeatedly deferred.
BL2022-1115 was amended by sponsor Bob Mendes at the August 2 meeting and passed on the second reading.
The amendment read:
I hereby move to amend Ordinance No. BL2022-1115 as follows:
1. By adding additional recitals at the end of the current recitals as follows: WHEREAS, the Metro Council acknowledges that under current federal law at 8 U.S.C. §1373, a local government may not restrict any government official from sending or receiving information about the immigration status of any person; and WHEREAS, the Metro Council acknowledges that under current state law at T.C.A. §7-68-101, et seq., a local government may not restrict any government official from communicating or cooperating with verifying or reporting the immigration status of any person; and WHEREAS, consistent with these state and federal laws, the Metro Council hereby states its intention to not interfere with sending, receiving, verifying, or reporting the immigration status of any person; provided however, the Metro Council further states its intention to not allow the use of LPR data any more broadly or expansively for immigration enforcement than strictly required by applicable state and federal law.
2. By amending Section 1, proposed Metropolitan Code of Laws Section 13.08.080(G)(1)(a)(ii)(6), as follows: (6) to assist any federal official in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of any person in connection with the immigration laws of the United States, except to the extent the use of the LPR system or LPR information is sought to verify or report the immigration status of any person.
“Both state and federal law require that local officials, including our council, not interfere with law enforcement reporting or verifying a citizenship status of anybody,” Councilmember Bob Mendes said on Tuesday.
However, by passing this legislation, Metro Council made clear its intention is for the technology to not be used for assisting with immigration enforcement.
Only Councilmember Robert Swope voted against the bill.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR, Twitter, Truth Social, and Parler.
Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.