Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Update: What's on the Council Agenda for March 5th, 2013


You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro CouncilAgenda.  The Council staff analysis as not yet been posted so I have had to do my analysis without benefit of the staff analysis. I will look for it when it is posted and I will update this post if anything in the staff analysis gives me reason to do so.  When it is posted, you can find the analysis at this link: Metro Council Agenda Analysis. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just really boring.

There is one resolution and there are nine bills on public hearing. Most of them are zoning issue that would impact no one except the immediate neighbors of the proposed rezoning. None of them are of general interest.

ORDINANCE NOS. BL2013-376 & BL2013-377 are concerned with new sign regulations in the down town are. There are always some people who care about this issue. 
There are fifteen resolutions all of which are on the consent agenda. A resolution is put on the consent agenda if it is likely to be non-controversial and it stays on the consent agenda if it passes the committees to which it was assigned unanimously. Since Bills on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government or authorizing the Department of Law to settle claims against the city or appropriating money from the 4% fund. Resolutions on the consent agenda are passed by a single vote of the Council rather than being considered individually. However, any member of the body may have a bill pulled off of the consent agenda. I do not expect any to be pulled off of the consent agenda. I don't see any controversial resolution.

Bills on First reading almost always pass. There are seven bills on first reading. They are considered as a group and are seldom discussed. First reading is a formality that allows the bill to be considered. Bills are not assigned to committee or analyzed by council staff until after they have passed first reading. I have not carefully reviewed the bills on first reading, but will before second reading.

Bills on Second Reading. It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place.There are nine bills on second reading. None of them seem terribly important but below are a couple worth noting:
BILL NO. BL2013-379 tweaks the backyard chicken ordinance. BILL NO. BL2013-381 by Councilman Tygard would require periodic reports regarding the energy and water savings from Metropolitan Government buildings and facilities constructed using sustainable building principles and practices. This report would determine if LEED certified building are saving any money over non-LEED certified buildings of similar size. This seems like a good move. We need solid data to determine if the cost of expensive energy efficiency measure pay for themselves or if they are just feel-good measures. Bills on Third Reading: Third Reading is the final reading. If a bill passes third reading it becomes law unless it is vetoed by the Mayor, which has only rarely happened. There is not any controversial bills on third reading.The following bill I do not expect to generate controversy but are worth mentioning. 
SUBSTITUTE BILL NO. BL2012-283is the new Metro Solicitation bill that would impose new regulations on commercial door-to-door solicitors.This bill was on the agenda a couple months ago but was deferred because Metro Department of law determined that to withstand a First Amendment challenge the bill must provide an exemption for "expressive art."  That has been fixed. Now there is an exception for " the sale of books and other expressive works."I would probably not bother to argue against the bill but if I were in the Council I would have to vote "no."We are not children needing the government to protect us from salesmen. Once this passes, it would be illegal for a person to stop by your house and ask if he could clean your gutters or rake you leaves unless he had registered with the city, paid a fee for a solicitation permit and had undergone a criminal background check. Too much regulation.
ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-358 approves an agreement between the Metro arts commission and Americans for the Arts for the 2014 Americans for the Arts convention in Nashville. ORDINANCE NO. BL2013-359 approves various agreements associated with the transfer of the Renaissance Hotel located next to the existing convention center on Commerce Street.
Memorializing Resolutions: There are seven memorializing resolutions.Memorializing resolutions do not have the force of law and are often not taken very seriously and often they do nothing but congratulate a sports team for a victory or a person on their retirement. The Council staff does not even analyze them. However, they do represent the will of the Council and when they advocate a policy position they should be taken very seriously. If memorializing Resolution pass committee unanimously then they are incorporated into the "consent agenda.These seven bill are all bills honoring someone and will be rolled into the consent agenda.

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