Roughly an hour ago, Gov. Bill Haslam affixed the first veto of his gubernatorial tenure to HB 3576/SB 3597, the bill that challenges the so-called "All Comers" policy at state universities — and curiously, at one specific private university, Vanderbilt.
While Haslam said, in a written release, that he did not agree with Vanderbilt's policy, he nonetheless felt the bill should govern only public institutions.
"Although I disagree with Vanderbilt’s policy, as someone who strongly believes in limited government, I think it is inappropriate for government to mandate the policies of a private institution," Haslam said. "Therefore, I will veto HB 3576/SB 3597 in its current form.”
With the legislature formally adjourned as of last night, there's little threat of a pesky override of Haslam's veto. When the veto was announced, editors and reporters from the Scene and The City Paper were in the middle of a roundtable discussion with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Told of the news, his response was to the point:
In the same statement, Haslam addressed another controversial item on his docket: HB 3540/SB 3345, the bill that would place caps on the hiring of foreign nationals as teachers in Tennessee schools.
“I will not sign the bill and will let it become law without my signature," Haslam said — the same tactic he deployed to public outcry on the so-called "Monkey Bill." This time, however, he added a cautionary measure addressed what he terms as "concerns about this bill's constitutionality."
"Because of my concerns, I am also requesting a formal opinion from the Attorney General on the bill’s constitutionality," Haslam said. "I think it is important for local educational agencies to fully understand the implications of this law and their decisions about granting charter school applications.”
Below, the full text of Haslam's release.
Titled "Rich States, Poor States," the 112-page supply-side manifesto was authored by none other than Arthur Laffer (godfather of trickle-down economic theory), Wall Street Journal pundit Stephen Moore and ALEC's own Jonathan Williams. Together they take Tennessee to task for its dreadful, job-killing estate and gift taxes.
With 44 Tennessee legislators tied in some fashion to the pro-corporate legislative factory, it's little wonder that the legislature recently passed bills that would end both estate and gift taxes. Some people might call this "synchronicity."
While other, more knowledgeable sources have critiqued the bunk methodologies ALEC employs in this annual report (including ALEC's patented "15 variables" metric, which ranks the Volunteer State 12th in the nation for "state economic outlook"), the report is also noteworthy for employing some pretty damn funny apologetics to describe a variety of hostile behaviors.
For example, why wealthy people don't like paying taxes:
Guns Standoff: The last mention of one of the most contentious issues of the year came in the form of a joke yesterday. After Rep. Eddie Bass, the Democratic House sponsor of two pieces of guns-in-lots legislation, pretended to call for their immediate consideration on the floor, everyone laughed and moved along. The measures died, for now, when the gavel hit.
As a result, the relationship between the gun lobby and the state's Republican leadership going into election season is sufficiently awkward, to say the least. In one of their few clever political moves all session, Democrats rallied an effort to get both bills, which had been deemed dead, heard on the House and Senate floors. That forced state GOP leaders to squash the bills a second time and to expend more political capital in doing so than they might have liked.
Caveat one: Ugh. Why, God, why does Ron Ramsey have to be on the side of right — and why do I have to be the one to say so?
Caveat two: Ramsey is right only on this particular issue. But more broadly, if we're cutting needed funding to hospitals and schools, and then giving money to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, that sucks and is wrong.
That being said, of course we should fund the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. On Monday night, the Democrats tried to give Ramsey crap because the proposed building won't be in Tennessee. That is not a good enough reason not to fund the museum.
Unions make me wet and mess my Captain Kirk jammies!
So what are the egregious sins the unions will be addressing? Not enough strikes?
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