Haslam won’t sign (but won’t veto) UT diversity cut, refugee lawsuit

News release/statement from the governor’s office:
Gov. Haslam today returned all of the remaining bills passed by the 109th General Assembly. He is returning SJR 467 without his signature and allowing HB 2248 to become law without his signature. Below are statements from the governor on both of those bills.

Refugee Resolution (returned unsigned)
SJR 467 directs the Attorney General to initiate legal action regarding refugee placements and authorizes the General Assembly to hire outside counsel in the event the Attorney General does not pursue action in this case. I trust the Attorney General to determine whether the state has a claim in this case or in any other, and I have constitutional concerns about one branch of government telling another what to do. I am returning SJR 467 without my signature and am requesting that the Attorney General clarify whether the legislative branch actually has the authority to hire outside counsel to represent the state.

I also question whether seeking to dismantle the Refugee Act of 1980 is the proper course for our state. Rather, I believe the best way to protect Tennesseans from terrorism is to take the steps outlined in my administration’s Public Safety Action Plan, which enhances our ability to analyze information for links to terrorist activity, creates a Cyber Security Advisory Council, restructures our office of Homeland Security, establishes school safety teams, and provides training for active shooter incidents and explosive device attacks.

Office for Diversity (returned unsigned)
I am letting HB 2248 become law without my signature. This bill received considerable debate and discussion during legislative session, and the final form of HB 2248 was revised so that its primary effect is to redirect administrative funding for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion for one year into scholarships for minority engineering students. Although I do not like the precedent of redirecting funds within a higher education institution’s budget, I find the ultimate outcome of the legislation less objectionable and am therefore letting it become law without my endorsement.