Republican state Rep. Jim Gotto is backing off his state legislative effort to move Metro’s election to coincide with presidential elections.
A caption bill that contained a Gotto-sponsored amendment to change Metro’s election cycle from August 2015 to November 2016 cleared the House State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday by a 9-4 vote.
But Gotto, who concurrently serves on the Metro Council, informed his council colleagues on Tuesday night that he plans to remove his amendment when it goes before the House. The bill itself, which deals with another issue put forth by Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville, would still be considered.
“It is my intent to withdraw this amendment from the bill and not pass it in the House this year,” Gotto told the council.
“I’m not going to push it forward,” he said.
Gotto had introduced the amendment to remove the burden Metro faces every 20 years when council lines must hastily be redrawn — using decennial census data released in the spring — in advance of August elections. Last week, the council completed an expedited redistricting process in preparation for Election Day on Aug. 4.
Several council members have questioned Gotto’s use of his state office in handling an issue that affects Metro. On Tuesday, the council voted 28-5 to approve a non-binding memorializing resolution that puts the council on record as opposing Gotto’s election-move attempt.
“I agree with you,” Gotto told the council, referring to members’ desire to weigh in on the issue. “Everybody in here, and the next council, needs to have an opportunity to talk about this and discuss it. I hope that my proposal will get some attention because quite frankly, I think this is a pretty good way to do it.”
Gotto, who is term-limited from his council seat come August, said besides ridding the city of the redistricting issue, his proposal would also save money by eliminating the need for an extra election and increase voter turnout for local elections.
Despite the withdrawal of his amendment, Gotto said he would still consider bringing his state proposal back to the table, perhaps as early as next legislative session.
“If it doesn’t get fixed over here,” Gotto said, alluding to the council chambers, “then I will take steps to fix it because this problem needs to be fixed.”