A property rights bill coming up for a vote in the state legislature is grabbing the attention of the thousands of Tennesseans who choose to live outside city limits.
As it stands now, Tennessee is one of only three states that allows cities to annex outlying areas without a vote, but a grassroots effort hopes to change the law.
Bill Haupt is fighting cancer, living with multiple sclerosis and is also fighting on behalf of property owners across the state who have chosen to live outside city limits. They are the people who have chosen a rural lifestyle without city services, city rules or city taxes.
"To arbitrarily be annexed when you don't know nothing about it, and you receive a letter the mail saying, 'You are now part of my city and here's what to expect with taxes,' it blindsides a lot of people," said Haupt, who founded Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation.
The city of Mt. Juliet has an aggressive annexation plan in the works, and cities like Hendersonville and Murfreesboro continue to inch out into their counties.
If it sounds strange that a city can swallow up a rural home or neighborhood without the property owners' approval, it is, because 47 states allow the people to vote on those matters.
Tennessee is one of the three others who don't.
The Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation page on Facebook is gaining traffic and support, but the real traction comes from the Tennessee Municipal League - one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the state, which is focused on killing a bill that would bring annexation decisions to a popular vote.
"We are deprived of having a voice in the process. The lobbyists who are working in the best interest of the city have taken over the process and have more influence than we property owners have," Haupt said.
The annexation voters' rights bill is one big step from reaching a full vote in the state legislature, as it is set for a House committee vote Tuesday.
Channel 4 News was unable to reach the Tennessee Municipal League for comment on this story.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:04 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:04:10 GMT
Deputies with the Sumner Co. Sheriff's office have shut down Highway 109 near Portland after a collision between a semi-truck and another vehicle. The wreck happened just after 8 a.m. Officials tellMore >>
Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said that Stephanie Law, 43, lost control of her silver Chevy Impala as she traveled north on Highway 109.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 10:45 AM EDT2013-05-25 14:45:56 GMT
A driver might face charges after a violent wreck on I-65 Friday night. A car ran into a bridge pillar at the Rosa Parks Boulevard exit around 11:30 p.m., according to police. A woman was rushed to theMore >>
Metro police arrested a driver after a violent wreck on I-65 Friday night.More >>
Dan Sligh and his wife were in their pickup truck on Interstate 5 heading to a camping trip when a bridge before them disappeared in a "big puff of dust."More >>
The trucker was hauling drilling equipment when his load bumped against the steel framework over an Interstate 5 bridge. He looked in his rearview mirror and watched in horror as the span collapsed into the water behind him....More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:48 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:48:47 GMT
One person was killed in a car wreck on I-24 this morning in Rutherford County. The wreck occurred near mile marker 86 in the eastbound lanes, which is partially blocked according to the Tennessee DepartmentMore >>
One person was killed in a car wreck on I-24 this morning in Rutherford County.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:48 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:48:33 GMT
Metro police are investigating a theft and assault at a south Nashville smoke shop. Investigators say two men showed up at the Smoke Token Smoke Shop on Harding Place to complain about a glass pipe theyMore >>
Metro police are investigating a theft and assault at a south Nashville smoke shop.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:07:39 GMT
A man accused of striking and killing two pedestrians while driving drunk near Music Row in December 2011 has pleaded guilty to reduced charges. The plea has the parents of one of the victims saying theMore >>
A man accused of striking and killing two pedestrians while driving drunk near Music Row in December 2011 has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:39 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:39:20 GMT
David Michael Matson
A National Weather Service employee who police said beat a puppy to death and killed another five or six dogs pleaded not guilty Friday to aggravated animal cruelty.Police said last November that DavidMore >>
A man who police said beat a puppy to death and killed another five or six animals pleaded not guilty Friday to aggravated animal cruelty.More >>