One Trend Tennessee’s New House Speaker Won’t End: State Lawmakers Overriding Local Governments | Nashville Public Radio

One Trend Tennessee’s New House Speaker Won’t End: State Lawmakers Overriding Local Governments

Aug 22, 2019

The man set to become the next Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives defended the role of state government in reversing local ordinances.

In a recent interview with WPLN, Crossville Republican Cameron Sexton said overriding municipalities is sometimes necessary — especially if the law could be seen as going against the state constitution.

Throughout the years, the Tennessee General Assembly has passed preemptions that range from prohibiting cities from banning plastic bags and straws ans utensils, to curtailing the powers of Nashville’s newly-formed police oversight board.

Sexton said the legislature has a responsibility to make sure local municipalities are not passing measures that go against the state’s interests. 

“Sometimes there has been violations of what we thought of the state constitution," Sexton said. "So, we’ve come in and interceded in those instances.”

Sexton’s position is in line with what the past two House Speakers —Glen Casada and Beth Harwell — have pushed for while leading the lower chamber.

Most of the time, Sexton says, the state legislature doesn’t get involved in local laws. But he says this is still part of the responsibilities of the state government.

“State government’s role is to be the overseer of the local governments,” Sexton explained.