Should Memphis secede from Tennessee? City Council members discuss possibility

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rep. Antonio Parkinson recently called on the city of Memphis to secede from the state after lawmakers passed legislation cutting the city budget over the removal of two Confederate statues.

But is it a good idea?

"We are in what I consider an abusive relationship with the state of Tennessee," said Parkinson. "Maybe it's time for a conversation about secession. create a new state maybe West Tennessee."

Other local politicians tossed around the idea.

"We have been referenced as the redheaded step child of the state," said Council Chairman Berlin Boyd on Live at 9. "Been doing some research on it. we have to go and take it out as a referendum a one."

University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy told WREG the process would be lengthy and complicated.

Memphis would have to get the state to sign off, which may be difficult since Memphis is Tennessee's largest tax contributor.

He said if that happened, "the part that is broken off in order to become a state would have to get congress to act."

Nothing official is on the books yet, but the conversation is certainly causing a stir.

"Maybe if the conversation is being had, maybe it'll wake those individuals up who have been taking Davidson and Shelby County for granted," said Parkinson.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said he didn't think secession was the way to go, but called the recent decision by state legislators to punish Memphis for local decisions was "a little bit of a stick in the eye."

"We are different in many ways from the rest of the state, and I say that in a very positive way," he said, "and I think that we've just got to resolve to continue going forward and push the message that we are a very progressive, very growing, very vibrant community that needs the state's help."