Harwell: Refugee/Rubio conspiracy report wrong

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Beth Harwell says there’s nothing unusual about the handling of a Senate-passed resolution on refugees and that Harwell has had no communication with Gov. Bill Haslam on the matter.

Kara Owen’s comments came in response to a Brietbart News report, mostly quoting anonymous sources, as saying Haslam was “surreptitiously” working with Harwell to kill SJR467, which directs the state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the federal government over refugee resettlement in Tennessee. It ties the move to anticipated – but unannounced — Haslam support for Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primary election. (Note: Previous post HERE.)

Haslam has declared his opposition to the resolution. Owen says Harwell supports the resolution. (Note: This is an update from original post, when the speaker had not declared her position.)

Brietbart points to the resolution being assigned to two committees and two subcommittees in the House as “parliamentary tricks” that delays approval with the goal of derailing it. A Haslam spokesperson is quoted as refusing to confirm or deny that he had conferred with Harwell on the matter.

Legislation routinely goes through two committees in the House and each committee has a subcommittee. SJR467 got the standard treatment, she said, assigned first to the State Government Committee and its subcommittee — which always gets first shot at legislation touching on immigration — and then, if approved there, to the Finance Committee and its subcommittee.

“She has not talked to the governor about this at all,” said Owen.