NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The city of Nashville filed another lawsuit against Tennessee on Wednesday – this one over the state passing a bill to take over nearly half the seats on Metro Nashville’s Sports Authority. That board handles things like the new Tennessee Titans stadium.
“That’s the process, and those make their way through the court and the court determines whether a piece of legislation should stand or not,” Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) said. “For every one of those, we’ll see how they turn out.”
The new suit marks four total from the city against the state. Between those four and numerous others from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood around abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, the state is racking up litigation and legal fees.
“The Super Bowl will be coming here when that new stadium’s built,” Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) said. “Again, I think they just want to cling onto something that’s successful.”
A few years ago, the state allocated just under $300,000 for ‘special litigation,’ which “funds the use of private counsel for complex or special litigation cases requiring particular expertise.”
Now, that fund has increased to over $4 million.
Just looking at the Attorney General budget alone, the state payroll budget this year was nearly $52 million, up from just $36 million a few years ago.
“At the end of the day, we’re here to pass bills that the people want us to pass, and some of those things, like transgender, against Vanderbilt, we got sued,” Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said. “But that’s where Tennesseans are.”
That money has to come from somewhere, and most of it comes from state taxpayers leaving some to wonder if that’s fair to the Tennessee taxpayer.
“What is the end goal? What are we trying to do here?” Rep. Harold Love Jr. (D-Nashville) said. “Don’t you see the difficulty and pain it’s going to cause all of us because it then becomes more difficult to work with people when they do bring bills like that?”
It isn’t just Nashvillians paying for lawsuits the city brings against the state. Taxpayers across Tennessee are footing that bill.
“On some of these policies that we pass, the left does not like what we’re doing. So, they’re going to sue us, and that’s just part of it,” Sexton said. “But you don’t limit what you think you should do because someone’s going to threaten a lawsuit against you.”