Tennessee governor vetoes ‘ag-gag’ bill
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed a bill that would have forced anyone taking video or pictures of animal abuse to turn the images over to law enforcement within 48 hours.
Haslam said he vetoed HB1191/SB1248 because the legislation may conflict with the First Amendment and Tennessee's shield law.
“Our office has spent a great deal of time considering this legislation,” Haslam said. “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.”
First Amendment advocates and animal rights groups, such as The Humane Society of the United States, opposed the bill.