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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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Business Protection Act Passes Committee

Senate Bill 127  was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday. The bill protects businesses from discrimination by a state or local official or a local government on the basis of their personnel policies, such as employee benefits, so long as the business’ policies comply with state and federal law. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. Sen. Paul Bailey, Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Sen. Bill Ketron, Sen. Jack Johnson, Sen. Ed Jackson, and Sen. Mark Norris voted for the bill. Sen. Jeff Yarbro voted no, and Sen. Richard Briggs and Sen. Ken Yager chose not to vote.

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Senate Bill 127 Referred Back to Committee

Senate Bill 127, which had previously been approved by the Senate Commerce Committee by a 9-0 vote, was referred back to the State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The bill protects business owners from discrimination by rogue mayors or state officials on the basis of their personnel and employee benefit policies.

The bill was sent back to a committee after Democratic leaders Jeff Yarbro and Lee Harris attempted to obfuscate the simple issue – should every city be able to dictate to a business its personnel and employee benefit policies? Republicans sat by and watched and then sent the bill away for more consideration.

These are the senators on that committee who will determine the bill’s outcome:

  • Chairman Ken Yager – (615) 741-1449
  • Senator Richard Briggs – (615) 741-1766
  • Senator Ed Jackson – (615) 741-1810
  • Senator Paul Bailey – (615) 741-3978
  • Senator Todd Gardenhire – (615) 741-6682
  • Senator Jack Johnson – (615) 741-2495
  • Senator Bill Ketron – (615) 741-6853
  • Senator Mark Norris – (615) 741-1967

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Business Protection Act (SB 127 / HB 54)

The vote board in the Tennessee Senate on March 9, 2016.


Also known as the Business Protection Act, this bill prohibits discriminatory action by state and local government officials against businesses on the basis of the business’ internal personnel policies, provided they are in compliance with state and federal law.


It prohibits a local government or a “rogue” state or local official from conditioning contracts or bids or other business with private entities on whether they hold specific internal policies beyond what state law requires.


Green in the Senate, Zachary in the House


Full Text: Senate Bill / House Bill 


Passed Senate 25-5-3. No action taken in the House.


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