Haslam leaves open possibility of vetoing bill to protect Confederate monuments

Gov. Bill Haslam is leaving open the possibility of vetoing a bill inspired by City of Memphis’ moves to remove Confederate monuments from local parks and aimed at preventing any such actions in the future, reports the Times Free Press.

The bill (HB1574), given final approval on the last day of the legislative session, prohibits local governments from selling or transferring public property containing a statue without permission of the Tennessee Historical Commission and says local governments violating the new law are barred from receiving state grant funds for five years.

Republican lawmakers all session were furious with Memphis officials, who in their view violated the spirit of the Tennessee Heritage Act by spiriting away statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from two city parks.

…Haslam told reporters Friday that “typically we have a position on legislation as it works its way through” the legislative process.

“Because that one didn’t work it’s way through during the normal course, I don’t think we ever actually had a position, so I will see.”

A Republican and history buff himself, the governor said that when it comes to the “Memphis situation I think the unique thing there is Memphis owned that park. And I kind of come back to whoever owns property should be able to decide what happens on it.

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