The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Adopting and Updating Code of Ordinances

Reference Number: MTAS-164
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 30, 2016
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Cities adopt ordinances one at a time. Eventually, this collection of ordinances becomes unwieldy unless it is organized under common categories and indexed. Organizing individual laws into a coherent book of laws is called "codification."

The procedure for making an effective codification is spelled out in T.C.A. §§ 6-54-508–509. It includes publishing notice of and holding a public hearing on the proposed code; adopting the new code by ordinance in accordance with charter requirements; publishing notice of adoption of the code; and placing a copy of the code in the city clerk’s office for public inspection. Newspaper publication of the code is specifically not required. However, if the codification contains any new penal provisions, they must be stated explicitly in the published notice for the public hearing.

T.C.A. § 6-54-510 provides that errors in the original ordinances are cured if corrected in the codification and the new code is adopted by the city council.