Governor not ruling out post-session vetoes

Gov. Bill Haslam says he is not ruling out vetoes of bills that reach his desk after adjournment of the 2016 legislative session – including a phased-in repeal of the Hall tax on investment income approved on the last day.

Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, led an effort to set up a special veto override session on Friday, but failed. That means that the 109th General Assembly is officially over and cannot return to override any vetoes issued by the governor. During debate on Holt’s proposal, some legislators suggested Haslam has offered assurances that no vetoes are anticipated.

But in a post-session news conference, Haslam made no commitments.

Excerpt from The Tennessean’s report:

“They have a constitutional responsibility and we do too,” Haslam said…

Haslam said he’s had conversations with several legislators about a variety of bills, adding, “I wouldn’t give everybody a blanket assurance we’re not going to have any vetoes, you know, take that to the bank.”

…He was then asked whether his office has the authority to veto a resolution that would require the state to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement.

“We’re under the assumption that we do have the power to do that,” Haslam said, conceding that he can only veto the resolution if it is over a substantive matter, which he said he believed it was.

Several groups are pressuring Haslam to veto the resolution, as well as other bills, including one that allows counselors to refuse to treat patients.

…Haslam reiterated his concerns about the latest version of the Hall income tax bill that lawmakers passed.

“I would have been much more comfortable with having something that just did it this year where we know what the state’s fiscal situation is,” he said, without indicating whether or not he would veto the legislation.