Laura Creekmore asks in this post about the logic of adopting a charter provision that could be unraveled by its exceptions:
I love the last sentence: Nothing shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law. Well, it does conflict… Can I start by saying that a charter amendment that has to contradict itself to comply with federal or state law is, on its face, a bad idea?
I’m assuming that if this amendment passes, the Metro Council will pass requisite “health and safety” provisions as indicated. So that cops and Metro General Hospital employees will still be able to speak to people in Spanish or any other language they see fit. Isn’t that crazy, though? We have to pass legislation to allow cops to speak to people in their own language? So that your doctor can talk to you about your medical history? When we have to make exceptions to our new charter amendment to protect public health and safety, it’s a bad idea.
The text of the English Only charter amendment is below. The exceptions are italicized:
English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions which bind or commit the government shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, Boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan Government shall be conducted in English. The Metro Council may make specific exceptions to protect public health and safety. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law.