NASHVILLE -- Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald and his fellow suburban chief executives can apparently rest easy about the prospect of Governor Bill Haslam’s interposing himself against HB1105/SB1923, the bill just passed by both chambers of the legislature authorizing referenda this year on creating municipal school districts.
In a valedictory meeting with the Capitol Hill press corps following the General Assembly’s adjournment late Tuesday afternoon, Haslam, who had frequently expressed the hope that the Transition Planning Commission could finish its labors on school merger before any legislation was passed, was asked his attitude toward the bill, which was relentlessly pushed by state Senate majority leader Mark Norris of Collierville.
The governor was asked if it was “a given” that he would sign the bill. Haslam responded: “I don’t think anything is a given. Our policy has been that we’ll look at everything when it goes to our desk. So I don’t think anything is a given. We have been having those discussions. As you know, I’ve made my thoughts clear. I really did want to see the [Transition Planning]Commission get their plan out and implement it. So we’ll have to see how all of this impacts that.”
After the formal press conference, Haslam was asked about the matter another way. Was there a chance, given his preference that the TPC to allowed to come to a finish fist, that he would consider vetoing the measure? After praising the TPC again (Haslam: “Their work has been extraordinary”), he said, “We’ll look at it, but, just to be honest, I doubt that we’ll veto it."