Fight continues to stop de-annexation vote in Senate

Fight continues to stop de-annexation vote in Senate

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis state lawmaker has a strategy to try and stop next week's Senate vote on de-annexation.

Representative Joe Towns is asking Governor Bill Haslam to get involved and veto the proposal.

"The governor needs to veto this thing," Rep. Towns said.

With a senate vote on de-annexation scheduled for Monday, Democratic lawmakers and members of the Memphis City Council said they are pulling out all the stops in an effort to prevent the de-annexation from moving forward.

"Minimally, if you're going to devastate a city, you should know exactly what that means and what you're doing," State Senator Lee Harris said.

Senator Harris said he wrote a letter to the state attorney general asking for an opinion on the issue.

"Can we get one in two days? No. Can Mayor Strickland negotiate in two days and decide which communities to peel off from the City of Memphis? No. These things are unreasonable and unrealistic," Sen. Harris said.

Those who support the bill said city and elected leaders have had two years to fight de-annexation and now it's too late. They also said the city violated their rights when they annexed them in the first place, but lawmakers said nobody had their rights violated.

"We followed the law, and that's not misconduct, that is not egregious behavior. There is nothing wrong with following the law," Sen. Harris said.

Beyond that, Strickland said the impact of de-annexation will be more than just financial on the city.

"These are middle-income or high-income areas where there's little poverty and little crime. So, if they leave our city, our crime rate per capita, our poverty rate, our unemployment rate is going to go up," Strickland said.

Strickland also questioned if the bill is constitutional. He thinks even if it does pass, the bill could invite lawsuits.

Harris said the bottom line with all the surrounding controversy, however, is that the senate needs to slow down and study the issue more before they take a vote.

"That's our minimum request today is that they try to be informed," Harris said.

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