An unusual thing happened Tuesday in the Tennessee Legislature when the sponsor of a bill failed to show up to present his bill to the committee to which it had been assigned. Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) had sponsored House Bill 54, which would have protected all businesses from discrimination by city governments in the bidding process for contracts, in regard to access to and the use of city facilities, and in regard to participation of city programs based on whether they did or did not extend special rights to employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity or provide coverage of abortion under employee group health insurance policies.
Even though proponents of the bill had updated Rep. Zachary on the bill’s status and the potential vote count among the committee’s members not less than thirty minutes before the committee convened, he came down to the committee room after it adjourned for the year, which means the bill is dead. Rep. Zachary’s reasons for his disappearance were murky.
Rep. Zachary cancelled a meeting this Wednesday with proponents of the bill desirous of finding out what happened, but it was rescheduled yesterday for next Tuesday.
The bill had passed the state Senate last year 25-5. In the Senate, it was sponsored by Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville).
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