published Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey suggests veto override session

NASHVILLE — Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey today floated the idea of state lawmakers holding a veto override session this summer in the event fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam vetoes any bills passing the Legislature.

Stressing it was not anything "personal," the powerful Senate speaker said lawmakers in the past held one-day sessions 30 days after winding up their annual business so they could act in the event a governor vetoed legislation.

"I think it's something that ought to be done," Ramsey said, calling it a simple matter of "good government."

He said he has broached the topic with House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, but not Haslam. He said he isn't sure Harwell is interested in going along. Looking at reporters, he said he probably needed to call Haslam since reporters were about to report his comments.

Ramsey recalled the last time state lawmakers held a veto session was back in 2002. That was when a Democratic-controlled Legislature met to override Republican Gov. Don Sundquist's veto of their budget during the state's then-income tax wars.

In Tennessee, a simple majority of the House and Senate -- the same number needed to pass a bill in the first place -- can override a gubernatorial veto.

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