Kyle, who led the opposition to Norris-Todd in the Senate, said of SB25, “This bill will raise taxes on the people of Memphis while taking away their voice. This is taxation without representation.”
A press release from Kyle’s office said further that “[t]he law adds additional confusion to the March 8 referendum by delaying any possible merger for three years and allowing special school districts that would make such a merger impossible.”
Kyle characterized the Norris-Todd bill as “the latest in a series of efforts by Republicans to enforce their judgment at the expense of citizens.” He said, “Washington does not have all the answers for Tennessee, just like Nashville doesn’t have all the answers for Memphis. State government is supposed to be about making life better for Tennesseans, not worse. Telling someone that their vote won’t affect the final outcome is always worse.”
The Norris-Todd bill passed the Republican-dominated legislature handily on party lines, prevailing 20-10 in the Senate and 64-31 in the House. The new law provides for a follow-up to a “yes” vote by Memphis residents in the forthcoming March 8 referendum on transfer of Memphis City Schools authority to Shelby County Schools.
A 21-member “planning commission,” appointed primarily by county or stgate officials, would oversee a two-and-a-half year period of transition to MCS-SCS merger, at which time state bans against new special school district or new municipal school districts in Shelby County would be lifted.