Press Releases

Alexander, DesJarlais Respond to Obama’s Veto of Keystone XL

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; February 24, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2015 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today released the following statement on President Obama’s veto of legislation passed by Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline:

“There is simply no reason whatsoever for the president not to approve this project that will create thousands of jobs for American workers and put our country one step closer to energy independence. Our Republican majority allowed nearly double the number of roll call votes on amendments to this bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline legislation than Democrats did on all legislation in 2014, which is proof that Republicans are working to get things done. And yet, the president decided to veto this legislation before he even saw it in its final form, instead of working with Congress.”

The legislation, introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and cosponsored by Alexander, all other members of the Republican majority, and six Democrats, would allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate, and maintain the Keystone XL pipeline. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate’s majority leader, allowed dozens of amendments pertaining to a range of issues, including energy and the economy to be debated and voted on during consideration of the Keystone Pipeline XL bill in January.

Alexander is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He is also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development.


Press release from U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. 04; February 24, 2015:

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (TN-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s veto of S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support:

“President Obama’s veto of this bipartisan legislation makes it clear the White House is more concerned about partisan politics than American jobs. Not only would building the pipeline create more than 42,000 good-paying jobs, it would provide energy security by reducing our reliance on oil from unstable Middle Eastern countries. After conducting five safety and environmental reviews, the president’s own State Department determined the pipeline’s construction is environmentally safe. I hope Congress will find another way to move this vital jobs project forward.”

In September of 2008—more than six years ago—Canadian pipeline company TransCanada filed an application with the United States Department of State to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border. The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January of 2014 determined that no significant environmental impact would be caused by the pipeline.

Press Releases

Veto of ‘Ag-Gag’ Bill Praised by Animal Welfare Champions

Press release from the Humane Society of the United States; May 13, 2013:

(May 13, 2013) NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed the anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” bill, SB 1248/HB 1191, after hearing from thousands of Tennesseans urging the veto and a report deeming the bill constitutionally suspect by the Tennessee Attorney General.

Animal protection groups, First Amendment advocates and newspaper editorial boards across Tennessee opposed the bill, which would criminalize undercover investigations at agribusiness operations and stables. More than 300 Tennessee clergy also spoke out against the bill, as did several Tennessee celebrities, including Priscilla Presley, singers Carrie Underwood and Emmylou Harris, and Miss Tennessee USA 2013. The bill also received national criticism from talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who invited Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, on her show to discuss the issue.

Leighann McCollum, Tennessee state director for The HSUS, said: “We thank Gov. Haslam for listening to his constituents and honoring the Constitution by vetoing this recklessly irresponsible legislation that would criminalize the important work of cruelty whistleblowers. By vetoing this bill, the governor is supporting transparency in horse stables and our food system.”

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, added: “It’s the wrong policy to punish the person who exposes cruelty, instead of the person who perpetrates it. We are grateful to Governor Haslam for hearing the clear voice of Tennesseans and ending this debate so emphatically.”

In his statement describing his reasons for vetoing the bill, Gov. Haslam had said: “First, the Attorney General says the law is constitutionally suspect. Second, it appears to repeal parts of Tennessee’s Shield Law without saying so….Third, there are concerns from some district attorneys that the act actually makes it more difficult to prosecute animal cruelty cases, which would be an unintended consequence.”

In 2011, an HSUS investigation into Tennessee walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell’s stable in Collierville, Tenn., revealed shocking cruelty to horses. The investigator recorded horses being whipped, kicked, shocked in the face, and burned with caustic chemicals. As a result of that investigation, a federal grand jury handed down a 52-count criminal indictment and a state grand jury indicted McConnell and two others for 38 counts of criminal animal cruelty.

The crimes at McConnell’s stables would have never come to light had SB 1248/HB 1191 been enacted.


  • The HSUS placed a full-page advertisement in The Tennessean that includes quotes from ten Tennessee newspapers editorializing against SB1248.
  • Pacelle sent a letter to Gov. Haslam stating that if SB1248 is signed into law, “it may indeed backfire, and result in more public mistrust and skepticism about the workings of the Tennessee walking horse industry at a time when it is already suffering a drastic decline in popularity due to the stigma of soring.”
  • The HSUS and Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville District 13, screened a television commercial at the state capitol showing footage from the undercover investigation into the Tennessee walking horse industry and calling on the governor to veto SB1248.
  • Of the 11 states that have introduced such ag-gag legislation in 2013, none have passed it.
Business and Economy Education Featured Liberty and Justice News NewsTracker

Haslam Defends Plans to Veto ‘All Comers’ Bill

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story gave the impression that Gov. Bill Haslam had already vetoed the legislation described below. In fact, as of this story’s initial posting, the governor had only announced his intention to veto the bill.

Gov. Bill Haslam said he’s receiving “some” criticism over his announcement that he will veto a bill targeting Vanderbilt University’s discrimination policy imposed on student clubs.

But he says he stands by his belief that the legislation inappropriately interferes with the affairs of a private organization.

“I think when we explain to folks, ‘Hey, if the Legislature wanted to impose their will on a private institution that you didn’t like, how would you feel about that?’” he told reporters after a groundbreaking ceremony for Middle Tennessee State University’s Science Building Thursday. “I think once you explain it that way, people tend to understand.”

Haslam announced Wednesday he would use his his first veto to strike down the bill that requiring public colleges and universities and those accepting $24 million or more in taxpayer dollars to let religious student clubs chose their membership and leadership.

The governor said he was OK with the bill when it was aimed at public colleges, such as MTSU, but adding Vanderbilt to the bill was going too far.

The measure passed easily in both chambers of the Republican-run Legislature, with minority-party Democrats opposed.

“I just don’t think it’s a road that we should go down,” House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, the chamber’s leading Democrat said Wednesday, hours before the governor announced he wouldn’t allow the measure to become law. It “was just a pretty bad bill. It was the biggest in government intrusion of a private business or institution that I can ever remember.”

The governor said Thursday he’s still weighing what action he’ll take on the so-called “gateway sexual activity” bill that encourages education about abstinence and restricts teachers from distributing materials that “condone, encourage or promote student sexual activity.”

He said he’s not sure the bill, HB3621, will do much to change current law.

“I actually was reviewing the specifics of that this morning and reading through the language, comparing it to our current practice. I actually don’t think it’s a big departure from our current practice, but I, we haven’t made a final decision,” he told reporters when asked if he would veto that bill, too.

Haslam’s philosophy on vetoing legislation rests upon whether he “felt like the bill was bad for Tennessee,” he told reporters last month. “If I felt like maybe it wasn’t bad for Tennessee, but it just added confusion to a situation, maybe I just wouldn’t sign it in that case.”

Education Liberty and Justice News NewsTracker

Haslam’s First Veto to Strike Down Challenge to Vanderbilt’s Discrimination Policy

A bill that would have required all public universities — and Vanderbilt University because of the level of government money it accepts —  to allow student campus organizations to control their own membership qualifications has prompted Gov. Bill Haslam to announce he’ll use his first veto.

The legislation came as a response to Vanderbilt’s administration adopting a policy requiring that student groups accept “all comers” into their membership and leadership, regardless whether they share the same philosophical views as the organization. The policy has driven more than a dozen clubs off campus for refusing to abide by the policy for fear that people would join religious groups without sharing their beliefs.

“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,” said Haslam in a statement the day after the Legislature adjourned for the year.

The governor said he was on board with House Bill 3576 when it applied only to public schools supported by taxpayer funds. But he said lawmakers went too far when they decided to extend the restrictions to Vanderbilt, a private university that accepts millions of dollars to provide medical care to low-income and uninsured patients through its health facilities.

“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,” he said.

The governor’s veto holds marginal veto power in Tennessee. The General Assembly need only a majority vote to override his veto, but that’s assuming lawmakers want to reassemble on Capitol Hill to override him, which is unlikely.

Late in the legislative session, lawmakers added a provision that would include Vanderbilt University in addition to public schools in allowing student clubs to dictate membership. It says:

“No state higher education institution that grants recognition to any student organization shall discriminate against or deny recognition to a student organization, or deny to a student organization access to programs, funding, or facilities otherwise available to another student organization, on the basis of… the religious content of the organization’s speech including but not limited to, worship.”

The legislation also added that “a religious student organization may determine that the organization’s religious mission requires that only persons professing the faith of the group and comporting themselves in conformity with it qualify to serve as members or leaders.”

“Our intent is to make sure that religious organizations, student religious organizations are not held to a rule they do not hold other student organizations to. In other words, they have told the student religious organizations that you have to accept everyone whether or not they hold your beliefs or not ” said Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. “Not only do you have to accept them, but you have to put them in leadership position if they want to be in leadership position.”

Both retiring Sens. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, and Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, pulled the small government card on Beavers shortly before the bill passed the Senate 19-12-2 Monday. The House later passed the bill 61-22-1.

“I don’t know that I think big government coming in and running private institutions is what people in my district want. I know this much, it’s not conservative and it’s not getting government out of people’s lives,” said Herron.

The governor also said he is refusing to endorse a bill that would limit the number of foreign nationals a charter school can hire to teach. Instead, he will let the bill become law without his signature and is asking the attorney general to weigh in on the legislation’s constitutionality.

Education News NewsTracker

Haslam Expresses Little Interest in Using Veto This Session

In Tennessee the governor’s veto power is so weak there’s usually little point in using it, Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday.

“One of the things you have to consider in my deal is it just takes one vote to override a veto,” Haslam told reporters Monday after an event on combating hunger at a Nashville Wal-Mart. “And so, if something passes overwhelmingly, you do have to take that into consideration in terms of the will of Legislature.

“In the end, if I felt like the bill was bad for Tennessee, then I would veto it. If I felt like maybe it wasn’t bad for Tennessee, but it just added confusion to a situation, maybe I just wouldn’t sign it in that case. But if I felt like a bill was bad for Tennessee, I just wouldn’t sign it, regardless of how it had been supported,” he said.

Asked if his statement was a contradiction, his staff clarified that for legislation he believes is “bad for Tennessee,” his position is to veto it.

The governor has the constitutional authority to veto bills and send them back to the Legislature. However, lawmakers only need to scrounge up a simple majority to override his veto and put the bill into law. It’s the same standard needed to pass a bill.

The governor also has the option to let the bill go into law without his signature, a symbolic gesture that he doesn’t endorse the measure.

Most states require a two-thirds or three-fifths legislative vote to override a veto. Only six states require a simple majority to trump the governor; the others are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Haslam’s Democratic predecessor, Gov. Phil Bredesen, refused to sign 32 bills during his eight-year tenure. He issued eight vetoes, three of which the Legislature overrode. Most of his vetoes came during his second term.

Haslam is now sitting on a bill, SB893, that would protect teachers from disciplinary action for exploring criticisms of biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning. The measure has earned national attention and about 3,200 signatures on a petition urging him to veto the measure.

The measure passed 72-23 in the House and 25-8 in the Senate. Haslam has said he’ll probably sign it.

“It didn’t just barely pass the House and Senate. It passed three-to-one in the House and the Senate, so you take that into account as well,” Haslam said.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who began leading the Senate under Gov. Phil Bredesen, said he expects the governor will go along with the Legislature on that bill, and just about all others.

“At a time like now when the governor is of the same party as a majority in both houses, you shouldn’t have to use veto power very often,” said Ramsey. He said the leaders “talk things out” before the bill ever heads to the governor’s desk.

“That bill was so watered down, it didn’t mean anything at the time it passed other than give some instruction to teachers on what to teach and on what not to teach. I don’t see that will be a problem. I think he’ll sign in,” said Ramsey.

Education Featured NewsTracker

Governor: Veto Often Makes Little Sense; Best to Work with Lawmakers for Fitting Compromises

Although Gov. Bill Haslam sees it as part of his job to rein in exceedingly controversial or notably weird bills the Legislature may be pushing, Haslam said Tuesday he’s actually rather hesitant to veto legislation that doesn’t seem imminently harmful to the state.

The governor pointed out that regardless of his views on any particular piece of legislation, if the Legislature is of a mind to make something law, it is going to happen with or without his approval.

“Some of those laws pass with 80 percent vote,” said Haslam. “In the end, a governor’s veto can be overridden with just one vote positive.”

Gov. Haslam fielded reporters’ questions Tuesday outside the spring 2012 College Completion Academy conference, where he was moderating a forum on how to increase student graduation and retention rates in the state. The event took place at the Cool Springs Marriott.

Here are some excerpts of the press conference:

Q: Are you working to try to head off the “Guns in Trunks” bill, or get it modified?

Haslam: Like I said all along, we don’t like the current form, so yeah, I think it’s safe to say that we’d like to see something different come out of that. I think it’s a fairly heated discussion in a lot of fronts right now.

Q: The big problem is the whole — is it just the hunting license piece, that that opened it up to a lot more people?

Haslam: I think the schools – I think the folks here would tell you that schools are a concern. I think there’s some other pieces – like I said, I just all along felt like it was a little too broad, and would like to see it narrowed some, and I think several people feel that way.

Q: You’ve mentioned frustration at some of the coverage of state government instead of the Legislature specifically. You’ve had to work as a sort of moderating force, to some extent, during the session. Is that somewhere you hope to be as governor, and cover the drawbacks of some of the more extreme elements of your own party?

Haslam: I think maybe what any governor focuses on, if you look at governors around the country, we’re charged with running state government on a day-to-day basis and all of the services you’re provided. So we’re always going to tend to focus more on service delivery and those key things about – I’ve said before, that’s what I see state government being, ‘How do we provide the very best service?’ So, I don’t think my situation is any different than other governors. I have some Democratic governor friends who say, ‘Oh, yeah, people in my party are trying to pass this and that, and I’m trying to bring them back to focus on these things.’ I don’t think my situation’s all that unusual.

Q: The stuff that may not make a whole lot of change in the law, why wouldn’t you veto these sort of laws that don’t do anything?

Haslam: It’s a fair question, but some of those laws pass with 80 percent vote. In the end, a governor’s veto can be overridden with just one vote positive. So I think the lesson is to try to engage in the process as much as you can. And then there’s certain things that are things that you might say, ‘That’s not exactly what I would do, but I don’t think it’s necessarily harmful to the state.’ Other things you say, ‘I think that is harmful to the state,’ and you jump in.

Q: Governor, you engaged in a bit of media criticism in there, which is similar to things we’ve heard before about you think we should pay more attention to the weightier issues. One might argue that the media only covers what happens, and to some extent the Legislature provides the fodder. Is it really a criticism of the Legislature in this regard, that they’re doing lackey things, and the media covers it?

Haslam: No, I would come back and say then, look at the amount of coverage on certain issues which may or may not ever get passed … and then weigh them against their impact on the state. Whether that be an education initiative, or changing the tax structure, or some crime prevention, those are things that really, really impact Tennesseans every day. And some of the ones that grab headlines, I think they’re fun for discussion, but a month from now and a year from now they’re really not going to impact Tennessee that much.

Q: But you don’t blame the lawmakers for bringing those in the first place, knowing full well that they’re shiny objects that will draw attention?

Haslam: (Laughing) You’re pointing fingers awfully a lot. I will blame them when the media says, ‘Yeah, we can do a better job of being substantive about issue coverage.’


Gubernatorial Signatures, Vetos Carry Little Weight

Tennessee governors may not have a lot of veto power, but that doesn’t mean the next governor needs to support what he calls “silly” bills lawmakers pass, Gov. Phil Bredesen said.

Bredesen was responding to reporters’ questions about comments from GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bill Haslam. This week Haslam told the Tennessee Firearms Association he would support a controversial gun rights expansion if the General Assembly sent it to his desk.

“Just because the Legislature does something stupid doesn’t mean that the governor has to go along with it,” said Bredesen, who himself has gotten crossways with the gun lobby over the right to carry guns into bars.

In Bredesen’s eight-year tenure, he stood up to many bills he disapproved of, but almost all those measures still became law.

He refused to sign 32 bills that the Legislature sent to him, allowing the measures to become law without his signature. He also vetoed eight bills, three of which were overridden by the Legislature. He issued most of his vetoes in his second term.

Tennessee’s Constitution makes it easy for the General Assembly to override the governor’s veto. Members need only a majority vote in each chamber, which amounts to backing from 50 members of the House and 17 members in the Senate. That’s the same number of votes needed to pass a bill.

Most state’s legislatures need a two-thirds or three-fifths vote to override a veto. Only six states require a simple majority to trump the governor; the others are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (pdf Table 98.6-22).

Bredesen vetoed two bills to allow patrons to bring handguns into bars, including one in 2009 that was struck down by the courts and a second measure this spring. Lawmakers quickly overrode his veto pen.

In 2009, he rejected a measure that would have restricted which governing bodies can mandate nutritional information labeling in restaurants. He said the measure would delay citizens from having the information needed to be healthier, but the Legislature out-muscled him in early 2010.

Bredesen vetoed a bill in 2007 that would have given a 2.5 cents-per-gallon state subsidy for ethanol-blended gasoline in some East Tennessee counties, including Pilot Oil Corp., a truck stop company owned by the Haslam family. That veto stuck after the governor said he was afraid the measure would pay private companies millions of dollars for activities they were already doing instead of encouraging new fuel development.

But even with weak veto authority, Bredesen says Haslam as governor would have additional tools at his disposal if Republicans have control of both the Senate and House.

“That gives him some additional tools to try to keep people on the straight and narrow with these things,” he said. “You can still do the veto and at least indicate that not everybody thinks that way in the state.”

Haslam’s campaign spokesman echoed Bredesen’s sentiments, indicating he wouldn’t wait for the veto option to stand against certain issues: “Leadership happens all along the way, and in Tennessee if you’re waiting for a signature to show it, you’re too late.”

Mike McWherter, a Democrat running for Bredesen’s seat, notes that it’s just as important to be vocal with both the public and the Legislature, adding “the governor has to provide some leadership in that direction because otherwise all they’re hearing from are special interest groups.”

News Tax and Budget

Time Running Out for Governor’s Budget Signature

With only days left to act on the budget, Gov. Phil Bredesen said he is thumbing through the document today and will decide whether to sign the Legislature’s full proposal or use his veto pen to change the parts he doesn’t like.

Bredesen is bound by the Tennessee Constitution to act on the budget within 10 days of it arriving at his office, excluding Sundays.

The budget arrived June 14, one day after Bredesen flew to Germany and Spain on an economic development trip to meet with Volkswagen and potential suppliers who may be interested in developing manufacturing or distribution centers in Tennessee, said his spokesman. Bredesen returned on June 19.

The Tennessee Constitution gives Bredesen the ability to reduce or strike money set aside in the budget, but he cannot increase spending.

The budget package, like any other bill, will become law if the governor misses the June 25 deadline.

If Bredesen decides to change details in the budget, the Legislature can reconvene in a special session to fight his changes and reject the veto. However, lawmakers see that as very unlikely.

The Democratic governor said he is largely content with the budget, but added that some issues are giving him pause.

“I think I owe the taxpayers more than just spending their money in a place where it’s not really, not really justified,” Bredesen told reporters Monday.

He said he is taking a harder look at the Greene Valley Developmental Center in Greenville, a facility he says is overstaffed. Bredesen originally sought to cut state spending at the facility but the Legislature added that money back into the budget.

Lawmakers also gave the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Hardeman County an extra six months to operate before shutting down the prison. Bredesen wanted to close the facility down at the end of the year but the Legislature gave it until July 1, 2011.

Bredesen said the Legislature’s budget also took more money out of reserves than he planned.

The governor said he was still deciding whether he disagreed with those and other budget details enough to veto them.

Lawmakers adjourned June 10 without plans to return to the state capitol until 2011 when the new General Assembly is sworn in. Before leaving, legislators OK’d a $29.9 billion budget package — a plan that cut out tax increases Bredesen added into his original proposal.

This budget will be Bredesen’s last before he maxes out his two terms in office and vacates his post in January.

TNReport originally quoted the governor’s office as saying Gov. Bredesen’s deadline to sign the budget was June 23. The date is actually June 25.


Lawmakers Blast Bredesen’s Guns-in-Bars Veto

Both barrels of the General Assembly are loading up and aimed at overriding Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen’s veto of legislation allowing firearm permit-holders to pack heat in any Tennessee establishments that sells beer or firewater.

Under the legislation, SB 3012, any bar or restaurant could post signs banning guns. If the owners do not, permit carriers would be allowed to enter with their pieces — so long as they don’t partake in drinking alcoholic beverages.

The vote on the final 2010 version of the bill in the House was 66-31. In the Senate, it passed on a vote of 23-9.

But the prohibition alone against booze consumption while possessing a weapon isn’t good enough for the governor. In his veto message released Tuesday afternoon, Bredesen indicated he believes allowing citizens to even bring guns into an establishment that serves wine, beer or liquor violates the general rule of thumb that “guns and alcohol don’t mix.”

Bredesen, who says he is a gun owner himself, observed in his veto statement that the legislation passed by both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly this year is little different than the legislation passed in 2009. That law was later was ruled unconstitutional by a Nashville judge, who said the provisions of the measure dictating where patrons could or couldn’t legally carry were too confusing for the average citizen to understand or figure out on their own.

Bredesen said he values “the constitutional right that allows me to protect my home and family.” But the governor indicated he believes the bill violates “common-sense.”

Referring to government-imposed bans on guns in places that serve alcohol, the governor wrote, “These rules don’t diminish our collective freedom, but ensure that this fundamental right is exercised in a common-sense manner that ensures the survival of the right itself.”

Legislators of both partisan stripes however promise that it’s the governor’s veto that won’t ultimately survive.

Dickson Democrat Doug Jackson, the chief Senate sponsor of the legislation this year and last, said the governor’s veto “was expected,” and that he recognizes the issue is an emotional one.

Jackson added, though, that he hopes people who believe in the democratic process will take solace in the assurance that “supermajorities” of Tennessee’s elected representatives “have looked at this very carefully,” and determined the general public has little to fear.

“During the time that the law was in effect, I didn’t hear one complaint from restaurant owners or patrons,” Jackson said. “The concerns perpetuated by opponents of this legislation were unfounded, and they will be proven so again.”

The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Curry Todd, a Collierville Republican, was unavailable for comment, but in a press release issued by the House Republican Caucus he said, “This bill passed by two-thirds in both bodies, indicating that there is strong support for this measure.”

In a telephone interview with, House Republican leader Jason Mumpower of Bristol, said, “I think we will probably override it faster than a speeding bullet.”

Mumpower said he believes the vote on the override in the House will come next week. That is likely the same time the Senate will vote on the matter, since that chamber is not meeting in session this week.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey weighed in as well, saying he is “confident we will override his veto, just as we did last year.”

“The legislation simply expands the ability of law-abiding permit holders to defend themselves and others in establishments which serve alcohol,” Ramsey said of the guns-in-bars bill. “It also allows owners to ban all weapons from their establishments and prohibits permit holders from consuming alcohol. Tennessee citizens who undergo the education and training required to obtain a permit should not be forced to relinquish their right to self-defense and the defense of their loved ones.”