State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) launched a petition Friday to urge outgoing Governor Bill Haslam not to veto his anti-sanctuary cities bill. The bill is widely supported by both Tennesseans and legislators, passing the Senate 27-5 and the House 64-23 – and under Tennessee statue, a bill may pass into law without the Governor’s signature after a period of 10 days (excluding Sundays).
“Enforcing our laws and protecting our citizens should not be controversial. I’m asking all Tennesseans to stand with me and call on our Governor to sign this bill that protects our citizens,” noted Senator Green in a statement.
SB 2332 adds teeth to existing sanctuary cities laws by prohibiting local governments that enact sanctuary cities from receiving future economic development grants from the state. It also expands the definition of an illegal sanctuary city policy to verbal directives and other means, not just written policies.
The bill appears to be serving as a kind of litmus test for many candidates as they seek to earn the support of Republican primary voters, the overwhelming majority of whom soundly reject so-called sanctuary city policies.
As The Tennessee Star reported, Rep. Diane Black was the first candidate to urge Governor Haslam – who she hopes to replace – to sign the measure.
“The voters of Tennessee want our leaders in Nashville to get tough on illegal immigration,” Black said in a statement released by her campaign.
“Sanctuary cities have no place in our state, and Governor Haslam should sign the anti-sanctuary cities legislation passed by the General Assembly – the duly elected representatives of the people of Tennessee. It is a common-sense bill that supports law enforcement and prohibits local governments from rewarding illegal immigration. It needs to become a common-sense law,” Black concluded.
Meanwhile, the remaining four Republican candidates for governor have different positions on the issue.
Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) voted for and supported the bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Sources tell The Star that she has threatened to call for a special session of the Tennessee General in the event Gov. Haslam chooses to veto the bill.
Haslam has remained non-committal, though he has been under intense pressure from far left activist groups to veto it.
Williamson County businessman Bill Lee has said “as governor I would sign the bill,” though he has not specifically called on Gov. Haslam to sign it.
There is no indication to date that Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd has taken a specific position on whether Gov. Haslam should sign or veto the bill, although the former Tennessee Economic Development Commissioner has recently released an ad denouncing illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.