Press release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam; May 2, 2012:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam released the following statements regarding HB 3540/SB 3345 and HB 3576/SB 3597.
House Bill 3540/SB 3345 addresses the hiring of foreign nationals as teachers in Tennessee charter schools.
“We continue to put a lot of time and effort in improving education in Tennessee. Establishing reputable and impactful charter schools to offer education options to parents and students has been an important part of that process. We should also continue to focus on attracting the best and brightest to study and teach in Tennessee,” Haslam said.
“In reviewing HB 3540/SB 3345, I am comfortable that because it is permissive and not mandatory, it does not adversely impact the state’s momentum in education reform. However, I do have concerns about this bill’s constitutionality.
“I will not sign the bill and will let it become law without my signature. Because of my concerns, I am also requesting a formal opinion from the Attorney General on the bill’s constitutionality. 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.”
Regarding HB 3576/SB 3597, which addresses Vanderbilt University’s “all-comers” policy for campus organizations, Haslam said:
“I don’t agree with Vanderbilt’s ‘all-comers’ policy. It is counter-intuitive to make campus organizations open their membership and leadership positions to anyone and everyone, even when potential members philosophically disagree with the core values and beliefs of the organization.
“The original version of HB 3576/SB 3597 only applied to public education institutions, and I believe it is appropriate for state government to be involved in policies of public colleges and universities.
“The amended legislation that the General Assembly ultimately passed, however, also applies to private universities. 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. Therefore, I will veto HB 3576/SB 3597 in its current form.”