The state Senate voted 24-7 Thursday to override Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto of legislation banning the Metro Board of Health and other city and county agencies from forcing chain restaurants to count calories and print the information on their menus.
The governor's press secretary, Lydia Lenker, defended the veto but said the administration wouldn't try to stop the House from overriding it too.
“If we're going to become a healthier state, we've got to make some changes.” Lenker said. “Anything that stalls progress towards getting healthier is something the governor opposes, which is why he vetoed the bill. That said, this isn’t something he’s going to spend time fighting.”
Under the legislation, Nashville still could require menu labeling, but it would take the Metro Council's approval.
"This does still allow the local officials to make those decisions when they can," Senate speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said. "I’ve seen sometimes when the bureaucrats get out of control and local governments don’t reign them in. A policy as important as that should be made by elected bodies, not by unelected bodies."