Nashville Voters Pass Controversial Amendment 1
By Colton R. Overcash | November 9, 2018
Voters in Nashville, Tennessee, recently approved a ballot measure titled “Amendment 1.” This measure creates an unelected and unaccountable oversight board with broad disciplinary authority over the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Amendment 1 passed by a wide margin – 59 percent to 41 percent and takes effect immediately. Nashville Mayor David Briley (D) said that “oversight [is] essential [to policing]” and will start meeting with involved parties as early as next week to discuss nominations and the implementation of the oversight board.
According to the measure, the board will consist of 11 residents of Davidson County who will serve three-year terms. Community organizations or private petitioners must nominate seven out of the 11 board members (including four from economically distressed areas) which are then approved by the Metro Council. This amendment, as designed and written, would give excessive influence to unaccountable advocacy organizations and their policy agendas, which includes mass immigration.
The amendment further states that the board may investigate police officers for alleged misconduct and recommend disciplinary action, including but not limited to termination of employment and possible criminal charges. (See FAIR’s Legislative Update).
For example, the amendment could theoretically allow groups like the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) to nominate board members who might refashion police department objectives to protect illegal aliens, including but not limited to punishing police who cooperate with federal immigration authorities on detainer requests. This would not only undermine basic law enforcement procedure, but it would also violate the state’s recently strengthened anti-sanctuary law, House Bill 2315.
Coincidentally, some of the advocacy groups, like TIRRC, who supported the amendment are the very same groups that campaigned against strengthening HB 2315. It is likely the Mayor or Metro Council will meet with these groups in the coming weeks as they work to mechanize the amendment into a governing body.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals could possibly nullify the amendment by next month though. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) filed a lawsuit in August against the measure, arguing that the ballot sponsor did not acquire enough signatures to qualify for a referendum vote. If the court does rule in favor of the FOP, then the amendment and its election results will become invalid.