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VOL. 122 | NO. 128 | Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gov. Vetoes Letting Regulated Industries Select Board Nominees

By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II | Associated Press Writer

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Phil Bredesen has vetoed a bill that would have allowed regulated industries a big voice in filling vacancies on the state Board for Licensing Contractors.

The measure required the governor to make board replacements under certain guidelines. For instance, if the vacant seat belonged to a member listed as a highway, railroad or airport contractor, Bredesen would have to choose the replacement from a list of three nominees submitted by the Tennessee Road Builders Association (TRBA), an industry group that lobbies on Capitol Hill.

Bredesen, a Democrat, said in his veto letter dated Friday that it should be the "prerogative of elected officials ... to make these appointments, not the members of the regulated industry."

The bill would have allowed two other industry-lobbying groups - the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Tennessee - to have a role in nominating board replacements.

"By forcing the governor to choose the majority of the gubernatorial appointees from narrow lists of three nominees selected by members of the very industries regulated by the board, Senate Bill 1727 transfers important regulatory powers from elected officials to the very industry interests being regulated," Bredesen wrote.

He said he would prefer a process whereby industry and trade groups can provide candidates in an advisory capacity.

The bill had passed both the House and Senate unanimously. It was Bredesen's third veto since coming into office in 2003 - two of them from the recent session, said spokeswoman Lydia Lenker.

Senate sponsor Bill Ketron called the latest veto surprising.

"The General Assembly didn't have a problem with it," said the Murfreesboro Republican. "I want to talk to the executive director of the contractors association and with the House sponsor as well, and see where we go from here."

House sponsor Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, could not be reached for comment.

The Board for Licensing Contractors issues licenses for construction contractors, oversees disciplinary action and is a "bridge between the consumers and contractors of Tennessee," according to its Web site.

Also on Monday, Bredesen allowed a bill creating 16 new specialty license plates to become law without his signature.

"I am allowing this bill to become law ... in light of the broader concerns I have expressed over the past several years regarding the unrestrained proliferation of specialty license plates," he wrote in a letter. "I continue to urge the General Assembly to address this broader issue."

Read the full texts of SB1727 and SB1028 on the General Assembly's Web site at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us

On the Net:

Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors: http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/boards/contractors/

PROPERTY SALES 116 288 17,672
MORTGAGES 143 337 20,372
BUILDING PERMITS 139 488 36,434
BANKRUPTCIES 43 158 11,322