CONTACT: Brendan Jennings

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 27)-A coalition of like-minded groups has formed to support the passing of HB 475, which returns to citizens the right to vote their consent to city annexations in Tennessee.

Founding organizations and individuals forming the Right2Vote coalition include Tennesseans Against Forced Annexation, Tennessee Eagle Forum, Concerned Women of America, Friends of Hamilton (a citizens’ effort to incorporate a new city near Chattanooga), the Ocoee Region Builders Association, Wilson County commissioners, Lawrence County commissioners, Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation, Ooltewah Citizens for Responsible Growth, Chattanooga Tea Party, Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham, political blogger Blue Collar Muse, tea party groups across Tennessee and others to be announced.

Forced annexations in Tennessee hit residents and business owners with a slew of new costs and restrictions without offering them the chance to consent. New costs include increased property taxes, increased fees, fines from enforcement of new codes, new sewer service fees and stormwater fees. Other annexation impacts often include negligible new or improved service offerings, subjecting farmland to usage and livestock restrictions with no agricultural provisions, new restrictions on gun rights, changes to school districts and more.

“Citizens should have the right to consent to annexations, as they often result in changes that have an enormous impact on businesses, families and individuals,” said Rep. Mike Carter, R – Ooltewah, the bill’s author and sponsor. “We think it is in the best long-term interests of cities to educate citizens through a referendum campaign about city services, planned infrastructure improvements and what changing codes enforcement will mean. In states that do this, up to 75 percent of annexations are approved by an informed electorate that feels included in the process.”

“Right 2 Vote” is a coalition of organizations throughout the State of Tennessee that believe all citizens of Tennessee have equal rights to own private property under the U.S. Constitution and, with that, the power to responsibly govern the use of that private property, with due respect to nature and community standards. We also believe in the importance of local government being close to the people, and that the best way to ensure responsible and efficient local government is to keep it as physically close to the people and as limited as possible.

For more information on this issue, go to RightToVoteTN.org and follow us on Facebook at Right2VoteTN and Twitter @Right2VoteTN.

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