Tennessee Gov. Haslam calls Obama's transgender directive 'heavy handed'

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam talks about education and his budget to the editorial board at the Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday denounced as "heavy handed" President Barack Obama's directive that public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity and not biological sex.

Tennessee's governor had opposed a bill in this year's General Assembly that sought to restrict public K-12 and college students to restrooms, locker rooms and similar facilities consistent with their birth sex.

At the time, Haslam said local education officials were best positioned to address the issue and he's now criticizing the "long arm" of the federal government.

In his statement issued today, Haslam noted "the White House itself has said what they issued last week is not an enforcement action and does not make any additional requirements under the law."

Haslam said only "Congress has the authority to write the law, not the executive branch, and we disagree with the heavy-handed approach the Obama administration is taking."