Gov. Haslam to decide on bill making Bible the official book of state government

Bible tile
photo In this Feb. 11, 2016, photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam answers questions about his priorities for 2016 during an interview in Nashville.

NASHVILLE - Casting aside questions about its constitutionality, state senators on Monday gave final approval to a bill designating the Holy Bible as Tennessee government's official book.

Senators voted 19-8 to send the bill, which passed the House last year, to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who recently expressed reservations, yet again, about the measure.

The vote came after a lengthy and sometimes passionate debate.

Bill sponsor Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, an ordained minister, defended the bill, which states the Bible is being recognized for its "great historical and cultural significance in the State of Tennessee as a record of the history of Tennessee families that predates some modern vital statistical records."