We are monitoring several bills introduced in the State Legislature for the 2021 session that have been identified as discriminatory towards LGBT people. A full breakdown of the list of bills can be found here and are below.
The Nashville LGBT Chamber has organized an open letter of Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination. We are asking for businesses to join this letter. Thank you to the businesses that have signed. Review the letter and current signers here.
ACTION: Please sign the letter if you own your own business, or talk to your employer about signing. AND please share and ask businesses that you frequent to sign.
There are many opportunities to educate yourself and others on issues regarding these bills. Top 3 three things that you should know to better understand what is going on.
I will be testifying at the Senate Education Committee hearing tomorrow at 2pm on SB228/HB3 “the anti-trans student-athlete” bill. I will be speaking to the economic harm the state could see if this bill passes and on the business case against discrimination.
ACTION: We need you to contact the Senate Education Committee and make your voices and opposition to this legislation heard. Our partners at the Tennessee Equality Project have an email campaign here. If you prefer to call by phone directly, there is a call sheet here.
We are hopeful to pause movement on this bill for a year and re-address it next year after major Federal legal rulings and legislation will be decided. Also, this bill is in search of an issue and they can not point to any case or need for the bill. Legislators should wait and not bring economic penalties down on the state and our businesses for passing this.
I have seen the business community very engaged and concerned around SB193/HB372. This bill allows state and local government employees to opt-out of training sessions that they say conflict with their beliefs. That is broad and impacts many areas of diversity training, not just LGBT. While it is currently only for government employees, we have seen legislation like this try to also be applied to the private sector. When diversity and inclusion are central to business practices, it is concerning that the legislature is pushing back on it.
ACTION: TEP has another direct contact email campaign for members of the House Public Service and Employees Subcommittee, where the bill will be heard tomorrow.
2021 Nashville LGBT Chamber bill tracklist:
The Senate bill filing deadline has passed, but the House has extended its deadline to February 24th. We will know the final list after that.
There are several other caption bills that we are also monitoring and will move them to this list as we learn more about them.
SB228/HB3 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Cepicky: “Anti-trans student-athlete bill”
This bill repeats the effort to prevent transgender students from participating in high school and middle school sports. It ties a student's gender to the original birth certificate. The "whereas" clauses attempt to pit transgender people against women's sports.
SB657/HB578 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan: “Anti-trans healthcare or hormone bill”
This bill criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
SB193/HB372 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Casada:
This bill allows employees of state or local government (which also includes public universities and colleges) to skip training or seminars that conflict with their values or religious beliefs. We believe that the bill provides a way of undermining LGBTQ-inclusive training sessions and seminars offered by government entities.
SB1229/HB529 by Sen. Rose and Rep. Moody:
This bill would require public schools to notify parents before offering any curriculum about sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill allows parents to opt their children out of such instruction.
SB1216/HB800 by Sen. Niceley and Rep. Griffey:
This bill censors LGBTQ content in public school textbooks and instructional materials. It's an updated version of the old "Don't Say Gay" bill.
SB1238/HB1177 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton:
This legislation is an anti-transgender "bathroom" bill.
SB562/HB233 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Leatherwood:
This bill appears to be a caption bill that would eventually carry explicitly anti-marriage equality language. It pertains to marriage licensing and definitions.
SB1208 by Sen. Pody:
"As introduced, prohibits this state and any political subdivision of this state, or any official of this state or a political subdivision, from creating, enforcing, or endorsing policies that respect or promote non-secular self-asserted sex-based identity narratives, sexual orientation orthodoxy, or non-secular marriage doctrine because the policies fail the Lemon test, as established by the United States Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)." Note: There is no House sponsor at this time.