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Sunday column: Haslam’s Veto and the Balance of Power

Gov. Bill Haslam wisely waited until the day after 107th General Assembly had permanently adjourned to announce he was for the first time exercising a right granted by the state constitution to act as judge, jury and executioner of legislative acts.
Actually, the governor only rarely is assured of executioner status. But Haslam has it with the veto of a bill that would outlaw Vanderbilt University’s “all-comers” policy.
As Haslam has noted in explaining why he didn’t veto other stuff, a gubernatorial veto can be overriden by a simple majority of the Legislature. The “all-comers” bill passed 19-12 in the Senate; 61-22 in the House.
At the federal level and in many states, a two-thirds majority is required to override, which in this case means a repeat of the original vote on an override effort would have meant sustaining the veto. Not so in Tennessee.

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