Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has vetoed a bill targeting people who organize flash mobs that result in vandalism. But his reasoning has nothing to do with flash mobs.
There were more chuckles than serious questions on this flash mob bill. Democrats like Sherry Jones of Nashville hassled the sponsor on the House floor.
“You’re not talking about where everybody stops and dances,” Jones said over laughter.
Sponsor Andy Holt (R-Dresden) said the real change to state law is making the organizer of a flash mob subject to penalty, even if he or she wasn’t there in person. A similar law is now on the books in Illinois.
Governor Haslam has no problem with prosecuting vandals. But he says in reviewing the Tennessee legislation, his office found what he assumes is an “unintended consequence” of lowering the penalty for another kind of vandalism – illegal dumping on farmland.
“Tennessee is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty, and we have to protect our land and water for future generations,” Haslam said in a statement.
Last year, the governor vetoed another bill from Rep. Holt known as “ag gag” that would have restricted animal activists from doing undercover filming on farms.