Gov. Haslam to Veto Ag-Gag Bill

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Tennesseans and the rest of the country have made our voices heard against the ag-gag bill (HB1191 / SB 1248) that passed both our Tennessee House and Senate. Since it narrowly passed the House by one vote, more than 15,000 calls and emails have streamed into Gov. Haslam's office, most of them asking him to veto the harmful bill that criminalizes the wrong people.

The result? Your voice matters!

Just minutes ago, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam released the following statement saying that he is indeed vetoing HB 1191/SB 1248:

“Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Tennessee.  Farmers play a vital role in our state’s economy, heritage and history.  I understand their concerns about large scale attacks on their livelihoods.  I also appreciate that the types of recordings this bill targets may be obtained at times under false pretenses, which I think is wrong.

Our office has spent a great deal of time considering this legislation.  We’ve had a lot of input from people on all sides of the issue.  After careful consideration, I am going to veto the legislation.  Some vetoes are made solely on policy grounds.  Other vetoes may be the result of wanting the General Assembly to reconsider the legislation for a number of reasons.  My veto here is more along the lines of the latter.  I have a number of concerns.

First, the Attorney General says the law is constitutionally suspect.  Second, it appears to repeal parts of Tennessee’s Shield Law without saying so.  If that is the case, it should say 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.

For these reasons, I am vetoing HB1191/SB1248, and I respectfully encourage the General Assembly to reconsider this issue.”

This is a great victory for the animals, and Tennesseans should be proud of our work! Please take the time to thank Gov. Haslam for his consideration and for standing up for what is right... his contact information can be found on his website.  Thanks to everyone who made your voice heard!

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