Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 2371/SB2464 on Wednesday. The law ends forced annexations and gives Tennesseans the right to vote. The law now requires cities to annex by consent of the landowner or through referendum approved by a majority of the landowners to be annexed.
As an additional protection to farmers, land primarily used for agriculture purposes may not be annexed by any means unless the farmer consents.
Representative Mike Carter said, “This was truly a movement by the people and would not have occurred without the teamwork of many making their wishes known to state government. Equally important the wishes of the people were conveyed to legislators who listened to them and ignored special interests, well-funded lobbyist and powerful city officials, to enforce the will of the people. The citizens of Tennessee united together to advance a basic American right, the right to vote.
"This law would not have been possible without the hard work and Statesmanship of Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough) and Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City). Their bill HB590, and SB869 plowed the ground, and created an atmosphere for a better bill that would ultimately pass, be signed by the governor. This new law reassures Tennesseans that not only are our rights given to us by the Constitution and our creator are alive and well in Tennessee, but when we work together for a common goal great things can happen.
“A special thank you to Senator Bo Watson whose leadership in cooperation with Rep. Van Huss and Senator Crowe was an example of true Statesmanship. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the 61 co-sponsors and 85 representatives, in the House of Representatives and the 27 senators who stood strong for the people.
"While we thank all those who joined the cause early last year or this year we cannot overlook those who came before us. For 28 years, Bobby Wood (R-Harrison) fought the good fight with determination but without success. Then picking up the cause for eight years was Senator Bo Watson fought the impossible battle with firm resolve. Thank you.
"Let all who read this and understand that government does work when the people speak with a loud united voice, continue to work together in Tennessee to make great things happen,” said Rep. Mike Carter.
Read the full text of HB 2371 here.