(POLITICS) TENNESSEE — Score one for free speech, and animal welfare. After lengthy consideration, Governor Bill Haslam has decided to veto Tennessee’s Ag Gag bill. Haslam’s decision rests on his claim that the bill is “constitutionally suspect.” Although agriculture remains the top industry in Tennessee, Governor Haslam recognizes that the bill could potential violate a number of constitutional rights. Continue reading below to find out what the future holds for Ag Gag bills in Tennessee, and how the state intends to handle them. — Global Animal
Ecorazzi, Allyson Koerner
Let’s shout out a big “woo hoo” for Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Haslam officially vetoing his state’s Ag Gag bill. After much deliberation, Haslam decided the anti-animal bill is not the right thing to do.
According to The Tennessean, the Republican said the Ag Gag bill is “constitutionally suspect,” and also wants the state legislature to reassess the bill.
“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,” Haslam said in a statement. “After careful consideration, I am going to veto the legislation. … I have a number of concerns.”
If the bill would have passed, it would have prevented undercover investigations of factory farms and other establishments committing animal cruelty.
For the past several weeks, many animal activists including Carrie Underwood, Ellen DeGeneres and Ginnifer Goodwin reached out to the governor asking him to not support the bill. In addition, individuals also pleaded with Haslam to veto the bill. He received more than 5,000 phone calls, 16,000 emails and 34,000 petition signatures.
It seems like he took many concerns into consideration, especially Attorney General Robert Cooper’s statement saying the bill is “unclear” and possibly violates several constitutional amendments.
Haslam also noted, “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.”