NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Two ordinances passed on first reading at the Metro Council meeting on Tuesday night that would allow Metro government employees the ability to enforce emergency health orders during a health crisis like the current pandemic.
One ordinance allows the Mayor the power to delegate Metro employees, who are outside of the Metro Public Health Department and Metro Nashville Police Department to issue citations. It’s unclear what specific citations as the bill was a “late file” on Tuesday, however Metro Police have been focused on issuing citations on Lower Broadway to people defying the mask mandate. Metro Health has also been there to help hand out masks and educate people about the law.
The other ordinance would allow certain departments, specifically Metro Codes and the Fire Marshal, to post stop work orders for violations at places like a construction site if health orders are not being followed.
Councilman Bob Mendes is one of the co-sponsors of the bill. During the committee meeting before the regular council members Tuesday, he pointed out that under current Metro law, department employees can only enforce rules inside their own department, meaning the ordinance would change that.
“I’m going to support it tonight, but I do not agree with the government trying to expand its powers,” Councilman Steve Glover said during Tuesday’s meeting.
Ordinances in Nashville must pass three readings before becoming law. There are still more steps to be taken by Metro Council to “hash out other problems.”
“I think it’s absolutely critical that we let things pass on first reading simply because we learn more things going forward,” said Glover.