The School Protection Act, SB 1499 by Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) and HB 1274 by Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), continued to make progress through the legislature this week. The bill would provide local schools with a legal defense from the state if they are sued for having a locker room and bathroom policy that respects the bodily privacy of biological boys and girls. Sen. Hensley got the bill passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, while Rep. Holt shepherded the House bill through two key funding committees. The Senate will take action on the bill on Tuesday, while the House Calendar and Rules Committee will determine on Monday which day next week it will come before the full House.
We want to encourage you to contact your state representative and senator by calling or emailing to let him or her know your position on SB 1499, the School Protection Act. It is a simple process to contact your legislators and takes less than five minutes. You can click here for a list of state representatives and click here for a list of Senate members. On each page, click on the name of your representative or senator and you will be taken to a page with their contact information. If you don’t know who your legislators are, there is a place on both the House and Senate page that will allow you to identify them by entering your address. Amazon and a number of other businesses are making a push to persuade Tennessee legislators to vote against this bill and other legislation. Do not let these businesses drown out your voice.
Human Life Protection Bill
Another bill of significant interest, the Human Life Protection Bill, otherwise known as the “Trigger Bill,” passed in both the House and Senate on Monday. The bill provides that if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns Roe v. Wade, then virtually all abortions in Tennessee would be illegal. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), now goes to the governor for his signature.
Online Sports Gambling
The bills to authorize online sports gambling continue to make progress. HB 1 by Rep. Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) passed the House on Wednesday while the Senate companion bill, SB 16 by Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville), also passed out of the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee on Wednesday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
Adoption and Foster Care Placement Agencies
In addition to passing the School Protection Act this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 1304 by Sen. Paul Rose (R-Covington), which would provide protection for child-placing adoption and foster care agencies from some types of legal actions if they choose not to place children in homes with a same-sex couple based on their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs. It does not protect them from lawsuits that claim the agency’s policy violates their constitutional rights. It will be heard by the full Senate on Tuesday. The House companion bill, HB 836 by Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro), has previously passed the House.
Both the House and Senate continue to move toward adjournment. The House passed its budget on Wednesday and the Senate is expected to follow suit next week.
Will Burns is FACT’s Public Policy Director.