Georgia lawmakers want talks to move GA-TN boundary

ATLANTA — Some Georgia lawmakers want to change the state’s border with Tennessee. A new House resolution calls for a conference committee with Tennessee to discuss what Georgians say is a misplaced northern border.

Georgia officials contend the border placement was the sloppy work of a surveyor some 200 years ago – who mistakenly put it a mile south of where it should be.

"The constitutions are very clear on what the line is in each state. And it says the 35th parallel," said state Rep. Marc Morris (R-Cumming). "And it’s time for us all to get honest about what the line really is."

The current border, just south of the 35th parallel, is achingly close to the Tennessee River. Georgia officials would like to move that border north – putting it in the middle of the Tennessee River’s Nickajack Lake.

The river is currently within eyeshot of the state line with Georgia but is inaccessible as a water supply for Georgia.

Rep. Morris has sponsored a resolution creating a commission to talk it out with Tennessee.

"And I think we certainly need to have access to (the river) and recapture the water that we put into the Tennessee River," Morris said.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam wanted little to do with questions about the disputed boundary when we met up with him in 2013. "As governor, it’s not an issue I spend a whole lot of time focused on," Haslam told 11Alive News.

But Morris thinks he could persuade Tennessee officials to consider Georgia’s complaint. "I’d like to think that I am (persuasive). I’d like to think that we could just wear each other down," he said.

Years ago, Georgia lawmakers asked the state to sue Tennessee over the border. What they really want is not a new border – just a pipe that can draw drinking water from Tennessee River just over the current state line.

© 2018 WXIA-TV

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