Tennessee Legislators Concerned As Governor Added To Megasite Board

Photo Credit: Governor Bill Lee / Instagram

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

During the special session yesterday afternoon, an amendment for SB8001 was brought to the floor of the Tennessee Senate. House amendment 4 adds two more members to the board for the Megasite Authority of West Tennessee, bringing the total number of members to eleven.

Senator Page Walley (R – Bolivar, District 26) explained that one of these two would be by appointment between the speakers of the House and Senate and the other would be the governor, as an ex officio member. The amendment also requires all members of the Megasite board to sign disclosure agreements, meaning they would have to disclose any conflicts of interest.

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Senator Jeff Yarbro (D – Nashville, District 21) reminded everyone of his support for the Megasite Authority but also said, “I do want to note caution here.” He pointed out that the original members for the board were to number seven, and are now up to eleven. “All of those appointments are being made out of this building. Not any from west of the Tennessee River.” He said, “This may not be the right recognition of who all has a stake in the future here.”

Yarbro went on to say, “I am also concerned about the precedent established by appointing the governor, the head of the executive branch, as a voting member of an administrative body to which we’ve delegated rulemaking authority. I don’t think that’s a wise precedent, or a good one.”

“If we’re proceeding in that direction, I understand,” he said, “I understand time is of the essence. I understand we want to get this done. “He appealed to his fellow senators that they should be “thinking through, making adjustments to this when we’re here in January.”


Yarbro’s concerns were echoed by State Rep. Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville), who voted in favor of the megasite funding as well as the megasite authority bill, but said he doesn’t believe the governor should serve on the board.

“I’m very very concerned about the diversity and makeup of that committee. I think it should have local people. It should be diverse when it comes to race and gender and ethnicity. That is my biggest concern,” Dixie said.

However, no further discussion was made and a motion to concur availed.

Republican Senators Mark Pody, Kerry Roberts and Janice Bowling and Republican Representatives Tim Rudd, Terri Lynn Weaver and Scott Cepicky voted against the project


About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and contributor to The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at paula@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

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