House votes to allow governor to name THEC chief

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The House has voted to give the governor the power to appoint -- or fire -- the head of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

The chamber voted 66-26 on Thursday to cede more control over THEC and other commissions to the executive branch.

Democratic House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh argued that the governor already heads the panels that oversee the University of Tennessee and Board of Regents systems and that giving him control over THEC would remove any independent input.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick and fellow Republicans defeated several Democratic attempts to exempt various boards from the bill. McCormick argued that the measure would make the boards more accountable.

The measure was part of Gov. Bill Haslam's legislative agenda. The companion bill is still moving through Senate committees.


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