NASHVILLE -- A bill that would require limited liability companies contracting with county governments to disclose the names of all owners and investors died Wednesday in the House Local Government Subcommittee.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains, said the bill was necessary because LLCs now do not have to disclose partners. He called it a "recipe for corruption" because a "mayor's sister or son-in-law or a state representative" secretly could have interests in a government contract.
That drew protests from Rep. Ben West, D-Nashville, who said he and his family have three LLCs that employ 23 people.
"We don't fall into that category of corruption," Rep. West said, noting his LLCs do not contract with local governments.
The bill failed on a voice vote. Also failing was another bill from Rep. Nicely that would have forced local chambers of commerce to hold open meetings and make their records open if they have entered into taxpayer-funded contracts with local governments. The Knoxville Chamber of Commerce sharply criticized him.
Earlier, the subcommittee delayed consideration of legislation to grant more voting weight to the seven cities that are members of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority.
"I've got some questions," Rep. Eric Swafford, R-Pikeville, told the bill's sponsor, Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge.
Rep. Dean and East Ridge officials agreed to a week's delay. The WWTA has 12 members, but the seven cities on the board say they easily can be outvoted by the five members that represent Hamilton County. The county opposes the legislation.
In other action:
* Environmental, labor and other groups rallied in support of the Green Jobs Act, a measure sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga.
The legislation requires the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, in coordination with several other agencies, to develop a state plan for developing green jobs programs.
"These are the jobs of the future," Sen. Berke said, pointing to recent investments in the state such as the Volkswagen auto plant in Chattanooga and the Wacker chemical company's planned polysilicon plant in Cleveland. "This is what we need to be aiming for."
* A bill allowing businesses to require their employees to speak English at work is headed for a full House vote after the Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee approved the measure, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesbrough.