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Just when we thought Gov. Phil Bredesen might care about something--anything!--there he goes bursting our bubble again. Bredesen was so adamantly for menu labeling that he vetoed legislation last year barring the Metro Board of Health from forcing chain restaurants to count calories. Today, the Senate easily overrode the veto and the House is getting ready to do it too. Is the governor ready to rumble on this issue?
"If we're going to become a healthier state, we've got to make some changes." his press secretary, Lydia Lenker, huffed in a rare public comment to the media. "Anything that stalls progress towards getting healthier is something the governor opposes, which is why he vetoed the bill."
"That said," she added, as the governor scurried back to the Neutral Planet
, "this isn't something he's going to spend time fighting."
So what if kids are getting so fat in Tennessee they can barely walk? The governor's too busy. Under the legislation, Nashville still could require menu labeling but it would take the Metro Council's approval.
"This does still allow the local officials to make those decisions when they can," Senate speaker Ron Ramsey says. "I've seen sometimes when the bureaucrats get out of control and local governments don't reign them in. A policy as important as that should be made by elected bodies, not by unelected bodies."