ADVOCACY UPDATE: Four Priority Discriminatory Bills in 2022

Advocacy Economic Chamber News Release


There were several bills filed and several more from the last session that are still out there that are discriminatory to the LGBTQ+ community. Our partners at the Tennessee Equality Project have a complete bill list of all bills that are or could be anti-LGBTQ+ and action campaigns on them.

 

The Chamber has identified 4 priority bills that we will focus the business community on stopping. All bills that discriminate are bad for business and make Tennessee a less desirable place to live and work. The 4 identified below are the ones that will significantly harm businesses' ability to attract and retain the talent they need, and make LGBTQ+ people and parents of LGBTQ+ youth feel harassed, excluded, and marginalized. 

 

Our target bills- 

 

“Youth Healthcare Ban”

SB2696/HB2835 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan

As introduced, enacts the “Youth Health Protection Act.” 

Don't let the short summary deceive you. This is one of the most far-reaching attacks on gender-affirming health care for trans and non-binary youth in the country. This bill is an exported bill from the Heritage Foundation and is also up in 3 other states. This is the updated version of the Tran Healthcare ban SB657/HB578 that was pushed last year and is still active.  

 

“Anti-Trans Athlete Enforcement Fine”

SB1861/HB1895 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan

As introduced, requires the commissioner of education to withhold a portion of the state education finance funds that an LEA is otherwise eligible to receive if the LEA fails or refuses to determine a student's gender, for purposes of participation in school sports, by the student's sex at the time of birth; exempts an LEA that fails or refuses to determine a student's gender, for purposes of participation in school sports, by the student's sex at the time of birth if the LEA's failure or refusal to do so is required by a court or other legally binding order.

This bill is specifically targeting Metro Public Schools who stated they would not enforce the Anti-Trans Student-Athlete law passed last year. This is a fine on any school system that does so. 

 

“Anti-Trans Athletes in Higher-Ed Ban”

SB2153/HB2316 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan

As introduced, prohibits males from participating in public higher education sports that are designated for females; creates a cause of action for violations that deprive a student of an athletic opportunity or that cause direct or indirect harm to a student at the middle school, high school, or postsecondary level. 

This is an anti-trans athlete bill targeting public colleges and universities. This is another attack on transgender youth and now adults. 

 

“Anti-Pronoun in Schools Bill”

SB2777/HB2633 by Sen. Bell and Rep. Cochran

As introduced, specifies that a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA is not required to refer to a student using the student's preferred pronoun if the pronoun does not align with the student's biological sex; insulates a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA from civil liability and adverse employment action for referring to a student using the pronoun aligned with the student's biological sex instead of the student's preferred pronoun.

This bill allows teachers to not have to use a student's preferred pronouns. This goes against an inclusive and safe educational setting for LGBTQ+ and allied students to be identified with the pronouns they prefer and stops the mutual respect that using and identifying pronouns allows. 

 

Those are the 4 major bills but there are also numerous curriculum/education bills that have been filed and do or could discriminate against LGBT people. Again, TEP has these listed here and we will continue to monitor them. 

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