Legislation now before Governor Bill Haslam will require voter approval for towns and cities to annex new areas. House sponsor Representative Mike Carter said this legislation represents a success for average citizens in the legislative process.
The bill allows citizens to petition a city for voluntary annexation; if the city agrees, the designated property will be brought into city limits. If a town or city wants to annex an area, it will be subject to a residents’ referendum.
Tennessee has allowed annexation by ordinance since 1955. It’s one of six states that still authorize annexation without a vote by residents.
Last year, the General Assembly put a moratorium on forced annexation, expiring next month. The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations is studying the matter.