Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What's on the Council Agenda for January 21st with analysis and summary

If you don't know what the Council is voting on, Council meetings are really boring. With an agenda and an analysis they are just boring. To follow along, you can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting agenda at this link: Metro Council Agenda. To get your copy of the Council staff analysis download it at this link: Council staff analysis. However at this time the January 21st Council Staff analysis is not available. With Monday being a holiday, I doubt the analysis will be available before Tuesday. When the staff analysis is available, I will update this blog post.

 There are 13 Confirmation of Appointments on this agenda. None of them are to the more troubled or controversial Boards or Commissions. It wouldn't matter anyway. The Council always rubber stamps whoever is recommended.

There is only one resolution on Public Hearing and it is to exempt an establishment that already has a liquor-by-the-drink permit and is seeking a beer permit, from the minimum distance requirements of the beer permit. I think the code should be changed so that any establishment that has a liquor license is automatically except from the minimum distance requirements to get a beer permit, but that is not the case so they have to have these silly hearings.

Consent Agenda
There are 12 resolutions, all of which are on the consent agenda at this time. 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. 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 but it doesn't happen often. Below s
are the resolutions that I am watching:

  •  RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-948 appropriates $13,100,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools General Purpose Fund to the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools General Purpose Fund Operational Account for the purpose of funding the purchase laptop computers, teacher technology training and a universal screener assessment for the implementation of Common Core testing. The Director of Finance has refused to sign the resolution as to the availability of funds, saying it would be fiscally irresponsible to spend a significant amount from the schools fund balance giving the funding deficit projected by the schools going into the coming fiscal year. This resolution was on the agenda last meeting was deferred to this meeting. The bill is sponsored by Councilman Bo Mitchell. Given that the school board lost millions of dollars of State funding by unnecessarily picking fight with the State and defying the State by refusing to approve Great Hearts charter school and given the school board's continued blaming of their budget woes on charter schools, and given the hefty increase in funding they got last budget year, I think this resolution should be defeated. Since the Mayor's Director of Finance will not sign off on the resolution, I would assume that this resolution is doomed. I suspect this be withdrawn or deferred again. If not, I suspect it will be defeated. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-951 extends the license and franchise of Nashville Gas Company for an additional period. This was deferred last Council meeting without explanation and I don't know why it was differed. 
  • RESOLUTION NO. RS2014-963 authorizes the issuance of $15 million in general obligation bonds. I don't know what this is for. I will update once the staff analysis is posted. 
Bills on First reading almost always pass. 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. There are only five bills on first reading and none of them are of interest.

Bills on Second Reading: It is on Second reading, after bills have been to committee, that discussion usually takes place. There are seven bills on second reading. The following items are interesting:
  • BILL NO. BL2013-603 would impose new regulations on small outdoor music events on commercial property. Why? I don't know. Unless I was convinced there was a serious problem that called for this new massive set of regulation, I would vote against it.
  •  BILL NO. BL2014-654 pertaining to the permitted hours of beer delivery. Unless someone could convince me there was a reason to vote against it, I would support this relaxation of regulations.
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 are twelve bills on third reading. The only one of interest is this one.
 BILL NO. BL2013-629 amends Metro's backyard chicken bill by removing the two-year sunset provision and also by expanding it to areas where it does not now apply. When the Chicken bill originally passed, several suburban Council members had their districts taken out of the bill. Last Council meeting, Councilman Bedne unsuccessfully attempts to get the bill deferred one meeting. Councilman Bennett successfully tabled Councilman Bedne's deferral motion. The tabling motion passes by a vote of 24 yes, 11 no, 1 abstention, and 4 no votes. Most of the "no" votes are suburban council members. This will probably pass, but it may be differed. I expect an attempt to defer or again exempt certain districts.
BILL NO. BL2013-633 would allow beer sales on Sundays starting at 10:00 a.m. To move it from noon to 10Am seems kind of pointless. Sunday morning church service is just starting at10AM. Why not just remove the Sunday prohibition entirely. I wish a council member would have proposed that amendment. Since no one did, I would support this liberalization of the current regulation.

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