‘Bathroom Bill’ Goes Down the Drain

Utilizing a quick gavel, Sen. Dolores Gresham, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, ruled that no one wanted to make a motion to consider a bill by Sen. Mae Beavers that would have protected the privacy of students using bathrooms and locker rooms in our K-12 public schools. According to sources, apparently no one was indeed willing to make a motion to hear the bill and put their reasons for opposition on the record after new Lt. Gov. Randy McNally asked the Republican members not to make a motion. Meanwhile, on the other end of the leadership spectrum, Texas’ Gov. Abbott, after learning that a Pennsylvania school had told a boy to get used to girls in his locker room, tweeted out, “Locker room policies like this will not be tolerated in Texas.”

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TN House Votes to Rebuke Nashville and Memphis

Nashville and Memphis city governments don’t like the state’s criminal marijuana possession law. They could ask the state to let them make possession a local civil offense, but that’s too much trouble and the Legislature might not agree. So they simply passed ordinances anyway, letting police officers decide to circumvent the state’s criminal law by citing offenders for a civil violation of a city ordinance on the subject. Thursday, the state House voted overwhelmingly to “repeal” the local ordinances. Speaker Beth Harwell, who is considering a bid for governor and, as such, would be charged with faithfully executing the state’s laws, voted with the Democrats and five other Republicans to allow the cities to continue flaunting the state’s law.

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Trump Holds Rally in Nashville

On Wednesday, about 100 state lawmakers joined President Trump during his visit to The Hermitage to commemorate Andrew Jackson’s 250th birthday. Later Trump spoke for 40 minutes at a rally attended by thousands in downtown Nashville about healthcare, immigration, and jobs. Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), who gave one of the speeches at the rally before Trump took the stage, is under strong consideration to be Trump’s pick for U.S. Secretary of the Army.

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One Abortion Bill Deferred, Another Referred to Full Committee

While the fetal heartbeat bill was rejected in the House Health Subcommittee for being “constitutionally suspect” and deferred to next year, the Subcommittee approved Rep. Mathew Hill’s bill that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks unless the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. Rep. Hill’s bill is now headed to the full House Health Committee next week.

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GLAAD Isn’t Happy With TN Bill

After weeks of wrangling, on Thursday the full Tennessee Senate passed SB 127 by a vote of 25-5. The bill provides that state officials and local governments cannot discriminate against a business because they do or do not like a business’ personnel and employee benefit policies relative to issues like health insurance coverage and non-discrimination policies if those policies otherwise comply with state and federal law. Somehow the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said the bill, expressly prohibiting discrimination, is a “license to discriminate.” The bill now moves to the House State Government Subcommittee (as HB 54).

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