The state House of Representatives concurred with the Senate Monday night and completed the override of Governor Phil Bredesen’s veto on menu-labeling.
The bill bars non-elected boards like the Metro Board of Health from requiring restaurants to post nutritional information. The ban now becomes law over the governor’s objections.
House Speaker Kent Williams says he doesn’t agree with Bredesen’s veto, but he was one of only two Republicans to vote to uphold it.
“I think there’ll be another bill coming, to what the governor is trying to do, and I’ll vote against that bill, but…just out of respect for the governor, basically is what it was.”
The veto override passed the House with more than a dozen Democrats voting to over-turn the Democratic governor’s veto – including House Democratic Leader Gary Odom of Nashville.
Originally the bill would have kept the state’s Commissioner of Health or any county commission from telling restaurants to post a calorie count on their menus. As it passed last year, and was reaffirmed last night, it only stops non-elected boards from making such rules.
In his veto message, Bredesen cited the state’s health problem with obesity and with Type Two diabetes as reasons to make nutritional information available to consumers.
The override passed the Senate in January with 24 votes, and passed the House Monday night 65-31-1 (the “Present-not-voting” singleton is not a vote to over-ride, so effectively it is a “no”).
The bill can be read here.
Our previous story on the bill gives more background and the arguments of businesses who opposed the measure.