Haslam’s overhaul of UT governance gets final legislative approval

The Senate signed off on House amendments to Gov. Bill Haslam’s overhaul of University of Tennessee’s governance system Wednesday, sending the bill to his desk for a signature that will be followed by submission of nominees for 12 new UT Board of Trustees members. They will replace the current 27-member board on July 1.

As submitted by the governor, the bill (SB2260) called for an 11-member board. One of the House changes was to add another member – a student who won’t have authority to vote on the panel. The bill also creates four new “advisory” boards – one each for UT campuses at Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis – and each of those will have seven members.

Final approval came on a 24-7 Senate vote, a bit closer than the 27-3 margin given in initial Senate approval before the House amendments. The House vote last week was 51-41.

Administration lobbyists told legislators that the governor intends to submit a slate of nominees promptly after signing the bill into law, hoping that they can win the required legislative confirmation prior to adjournment of the 2018 session. If not approved this session, the nominations must be confirmed within 90 days after the 2019 session convenes.

Note: Roll call votes on the bill are HERE.

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