Prior to Thursday’s rejection of a bill declaring the Holy Bible as Tennessee’s offical state book, Gov. Bill Haslam has issued three previous vetoes in his five years as governor. They were:
In 2012, a bill that would have outlawed Vanderbilt University’s “all-comers” policy, which required all student organizations receiving university funding to be open to all Vanderbilt students — a policy that angered some many conservatives. But the governor noted that Vanderbilt is a private university and the state should not interfere with its internal operations as long as they are otherwise.
In 2013, the “Ag-Gag” bill, which would have required anyone who records — by photograph, digital image, video or similar medium — “for the purposes of documenting” abuse of livestock to turn over the the unedited recordings to local law enforcement within 48 hours or face a criminal charge.
Animal protection groups call the bill an effort to prevent the kind of undercover documentation of animal abuse that made national headlines when the Humane Society of the United States released videos of beatings and other abusive practices against horses at a Fayette County trainer’s stables in 2011. The state attorney general called the bill “constitutionally suspect.”
In 2014, a bill Thursday that its sponsor said was aimed at preventing “flash mobs”that vandalize property in Tennessee and increasing the penalty for polluting retail products. But Haslam said that a legal review found the bill had the unintended consequence of reducing criminal penalties for some types of polluting in Tennessee, including illegal dumping in rural areas.
The Legislature did not attempt to override any of the three.
The last time the Legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto was in 2010 when a Republican majority overrode Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen’s veto of a bill that allows people with handgun carry permits to take their weapons into businesses selling alcoholic beverages.
The sponsors plan an override attempt next week, triggering this observation in the Times-Free Press:
If Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, and Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, are successful, it would be the first time in Tennessee history — or at least since post-Civil War Reconstruction — that a Republican-controlled General Assembly will have overridden a Republican governor.