GOP Lawmakers Want Power To Appoint Boards; Gov. Haslam Says Not So Fast

Governor Bill Haslam addresses a meeting of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in January, 2013. The Governor has the power to appoint morethan 3,500 members to a wide variety of board and comissions. Image: TN Photo Services/Flickr

Governor Bill Haslam addresses a meeting of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in January, 2013. The Governor has the power to appoint more than 3,500 members to a wide variety of board and commissions. Image: TN Photo Services/Flickr

Governor Bill Haslam says he knows best when making appointments to boards and commissions in Tennessee. The legislature’s Republican majority is working on bills which would take away some of that power

GOP lawmakers want to have their say on bodies related to education, like the State Textbook Commission, and the State Board of Education. They say appointees would be more responsive to the legislature, and therefore, the public.

Governor Haslam takes exception.

“You know, legislators feel like ‘gosh, we’re the ones who are out there close to the people and hearing things,'” Haslam told reporters Wednesday. “I would argue, heck, I’m all over the state talking to people everywhere and I have a really good feel for how to do that.”

In the end, Haslam says it depends on how closely a board or commission is tied to the function of state government as whether he’d be willing to share appointing authority.

The Governor has already said he’s against legislators selecting members of the State Board of Education. The bill to allow lawmakers to pick the State Textbook Commission comes up in a House subcommittee in two weeks.

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