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Haslam Pushing ‘Cultural Shift’ While Coping With ‘Perception Factor’

Gov. Bill Haslam declares that he is successfully presiding over a “cultural shift” in Tennessee’s government operations and the state’s education system, though occasionally dealing with a “perception factor” caused by inordinate media attention to some legislative activities.
His own relationship to the Legislature, dominated by fellow Republicans, is marked by a general unity of purpose and broad support on substantive issues, Haslam said in an interview last week. He discounts talk of a conservative-moderate split in Republican ranks.
“I honestly think that’s exaggerated. I really do,” he said, though acknowledging that “Any time you have a party that has the majorities Republicans do now, you’re going have times when there are people who are not in agreement.”
The governor issued his first veto during the recently completed legislative session, blocking a bill aimed at overturning a Vanderbilt University policy that Republican sponsors saw as discriminating against campus religious groups. He also refused to sign two measures, one a bill that would protect teachers from discipline if they talk about creationism in the classroom and the other a resolution condemning United Nations Agenda 21.

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