ADVOCACY UPDATE - Open Letter Release, NCAA Fallout, Major Jobs Announced, and Anti-LGBT Legislation Continues to Move Forward

Advocacy Chamber News Release


Open Letter Release, NCAA Fallout,

Major Jobs Announced, and Anti-LGBT Legislation Continues to Move Forward

Where we are:

It was quite the week. Monday we held a press conference to again release the open letter of Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination and allow businesses to directly speak out on anti-LGBT legislation and the impact and fallout that comes with it. 

Thank you to all the signers, 180, and continuing to grow every day. You can still sign if you have not. We sent the updated letter to all legislators Monday and we will continue to do so before every vote they make on discriminatory legislation. Thank you to the speakers on Monday, hearing directly from the companies and organizations affected is so important.

  • Michelle Brown, Manager of Public Policy at Amazon
  • Nikki Gibson, Compliance Consultant at Dell Technologies
  • Shawn Reilly, Senior Trainer at Diversity Builder
  • Servando Esparza, Executive Director of Southeast at TechNet
  • Rob Mortenson, President/CEO of Tennessee Hospitality Association
  • Hannah Willard, Vice President of Government Affairs at Freedom For All Americans
  • Cathryn M. Oakley, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel at Human Rights Campaign

The statement from COL Jennifer Pritzker was reported on widely. I want to directly thank her for speaking out on this issue and bringing not just a new economic fallout issue to the forefront but also providing strong conservative points of opposition, and most of all another transgender voice into the discussion. You can read more about her statement and the reaction to it here

Shortly after the press conference finished the NCAA Board Of Governors released a statement regarding tournaments and states that have discrimination on the books. This development made it clear the fallout discrimination can have and is just the beginning of what is to come, especially if more bills pass. I spoke to 22 media outlets after the statement was released, tying the open letter and NCAA actions together, and continuing to warn of current and future fallout. It is clear. 

Something that relates to our advocacy work and the business impact on the state. It was reported Wednesday that Oracle is coming to Nashville. From the article - Oracle expects to invest up to $1.2 billion and build 1.2 million square feet of office space over the next 10 years. Oracle aims to employ 2,500 people at the campus by the end of 2027, growing to 8,500 jobs by the end of 2031. We were 1 of only 4 people quoted in the story "The Nashville LGBT Chamber welcomes Oracle to the city and looks forward to working with them on diversity and inclusion initiatives here. We know that Oracle takes LGBTQ+ inclusivity seriously by their commitment to internal policies and programs that we know of and can see through actions. Notably, Oracle has a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index." 

And just moments ago a letter from the music industry signed by over 50 organizations went to all legislators and the Governor. We thank all the signers. You can read the letter here

All of this and more shows the enormous pushback against discrimination. Yet the legislature continued to advance anti-LGBT bills and sent one to the Governor for his signature, making it law. 

What happened this week:

What happened with legislation. 

  • Monday the House passed the “Opt-Out of LGBT Teaching Bill” and the bill will be sent to the Gov. He has stated today that he plans to sign it
  • Tuesday the House Ways and Means Committee passed the “Bathroom Bill 2.0”.  
  • Wednesday the House Health Committee rolled the “Transgender Healthcare Ban” bill to next year. And they passed the “Transgender Hormone Ban” bill. 

Media coverage and info you should know:

The week ahead:

The schedule of discriminatory bills to be heard this week. See a full bill report at the bottom of the email.  

Monday, April 19th:

The “Bathroom Bill 2.0” will be up on the floors of the Senate and House. Passage here will send the bill to the Governor. TEP has a campaign to contact legislators. We will make sure all legislators have the open letters and know the business impact again. 

Tuesday, April 20th: 

Senate Judiciary Committee

SB1224 Rose - “Bathroom Signage bill” - This bill did not get heard this week. We plan to testify against this bill. Make calls and emails to this committee. It may move to Wednesday depending on length of the calendar. TAKE ACTION ON THIS BILL. This is bad for business in so many ways. Contact this committee directly

Legislative Overview – Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce bill tracklist:

112th General Assembly – First Session 


SB 1229/HB 529 (Rose/Moody): “Opt-Out of being taught LGBT sex-ed”

A bill to require an LEA or public charter school to notify the parent or guardian of each student prior to beginning instruction of a sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum, regardless of whether the curriculum is offered as part of a family life program, sex education program, or other program. Allows a parent or guardian to excuse the student from a sexual orientation or gender identity curriculum. 

Status: Senate passed 04/05/21; House passed 04/14/21. Pending Governor’s signature.

SB 228/HB 3 (Hensley/Cepicky): “Anti-trans student-athlete bill”

A bill to require that a student's gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event be determined by the student's sex at the time of the student's birth, as indicated on the student's original birth certificate. 

Status: Senate Passed 03/01/21; House Passed 03/22/21; Signed by the Governor. 


SB 126/HB 1027 (Haile/Kumar): “Trans-Youth Hormone Ban”

As amended, a bill to prohibit sexual identity change hormone therapy for prepubescent minors, and establish a commission to consider uniform standard for endocrine treatment for minors who are not prepubescent. 

Status: Senate Passed 04/08/21; House Health Committee passed 04/14/21, sent to House Government Operations Committee. 

SB 1224/HB 1182 (Rose/Rudd): “Bathroom Signage for Business” 

As amended, a bill to require entities that operate a building or facility open to the general public that allow a member of either biological sex to use any public restroom post notice of the policy at the entrances to the restrooms. Establishes regulations for the required signage. 

Status: Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee 04/20/21; House Passed 03/29/21. 

SB 1367/HB 1233 (Bell/Zachary): “Bathroom Bill 2.0”

A bill to require public schools to provide a reasonable accommodation to a person who is unwilling or unable to use a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility designated for the person’s sex located within a public school building or multi-occupancy sleeping quarters while attending a public school-sponsored activity. “Reasonable accommodation” is defined as including but not limited to access to a single-occupancy restroom or changing facility. “Sex” is a person's biological sex determined at the time of birth. Establishes that a person who is denied reasonable accommodation has a private right of action against the public school. 

Status: Scheduled for Senate Floor 04/19/21; Scheduled for House Floor 04/19/21. 


SB 657/HB 578 (Bowling/Ragan): “Transgender-youth Healthcare Ban” 

A bill to prohibit facilitating sexual identity change therapy to a minor who has not entered puberty, and to prohibit sexual identity change therapy to minors who have entered puberty unless a parent or guardian has written recommendations for the therapy from at least three physicians. Violations are treated as child abuse. 

Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee; House Health Committee deferred to Second Calendar of 2022. 

SB 193/HB 372 (Bowling/Casada): “Diversity Training Opt-Out”

A bill to prohibit government entities from requiring employees to participate in a training, seminar, or continuing education if they object based on their morals, ethics, values, or religious beliefs. 

Status: Referred to Senate State and Local Government Committee (CLOSED); Taken off notice in House Public Service Subcommittee 03/17/21. 

SB 1216/HB 800 (Niceley/Griffey): “LGBT in Textbook Ban”

A bill to prohibit the use of textbooks or instructional materials that promote LGBTQ issues or lifestyles. 

Status: Referred to Senate Education Committee (CLOSED); House Education Instruction Committee passed 04/07/21, sent to House Finance Subcommittee. NO ACTION 

SB 1238/HB 1177 (Pody/J Sexton): “Anti-Trans Lockerroom Bill”

A bill to create an expectation of privacy from members of the opposite sex for a person in a single-sex restroom or locker room. Sex is defined as that listed on a person’s birth certificate. Violations are misdemeanors. 

Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee; Referred to House Criminal Justice Subcommittee (CLOSED). 

SB 562/HB 233 (Bowling/Leatherwood): “Same-sex marriage ban”

A bill to require the Attorney General to defend local officials and political subdivisions who refuse to issue marriage licenses that violate the state constitution. 

Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee; Referred to House Children & Family Affairs Subcommittee (CLOSED). 


SB 659/HB 1535 (Bowling/Weaver): 

A bill to prohibit teachers from using supplemental materials that are not approved by the state board of education. Defines "supplemental materials" to mean a lesson plan, reading material, student worksheet, or instructional guide that a teacher uses to instruct a student on the academic standards of this state, and the lesson plan, student worksheet, or instructional guide is not created by the teacher. Establishes a review and approval process for supplemental materials sent to the state board by teachers, including notice of the review to the public and allowing the public to comment on the materials. 

Status: Senate Education Committee deferred to 2022; House Education Instruction Committee passed 04/07/21, sent to House Calendar & Rules Committee. 


SB 856/HB 576 (Bowling/Ragan): 

A bill to require the Department of Education to promulgate rules regulating how the office for civil rights ensures compliance with Title VI and Title IX, and assists programs receiving funds under Title VI and Title IX. 

Status: Assigned to General Subcommittee in Senate 03/19/21; Failed in House Higher Education Subcommittee 03/09/21.

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