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TN Attorney General Unable to Derail Pro-Life Law

This week the Judiciary Committee in the Tennessee Senate moved to the Senate floor a bill that would ban post-viability abortions except where necessary to save the life or physical health of the mother. Though multiple laws exactly like this one now exist and none have been ruled unconstitutional, Tennessee’s attorney general issued an opinion saying the bill was “constitutionally suspect” because it, like the other laws, did not include an exception for a mother’s “emotional health.” Thankfully, the committee was provided testimony from someone who is truly an expert relative to constitutional law and abortion, and the majority voted in favor of the bill despite the attorney general’s opinion.

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Tennessee Companies Receive Perfect Score on LGBT Index

Six Tennessee-based companies were among the 609 companies nationwide to receive 100 percent on this year’s Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index. The index gauges the extent to which businesses embrace LGBT employees and causes. The Tennessee companies include FedEx; Nissan North America; Eastman Chemical Co.; Unam Group; and two law firms, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC.

Getting a perfect score goes beyond having policies extending special employment rights based on a person’s sexual orientation/gender identity. Companies must also be willing to make a financial investment in LGBT causes and provide medical benefits that include sex reassignment treatments. Moreover, the index also deducts 25 points for any business that makes corporate contributions to entities that are deemed to be anti-LGBT.

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Blackburn, Cooper Bill Would End Hush Fund for Sexual Harassment Claims

Tennessee Congressmen Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) and Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) have joined with three other U.S. House members to out those in Congress who have used taxpayer money to settle sexual assault and harassment claims secretly.

The bipartisan Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act would ban the use of taxpayer funds to settle such claims and require the public release of the names of congressmen who used a confidential Treasury Department fund to settle such claims in the past by posting their names on the congressional Office of Compliance website. Names of the victims would not be made public, but victims could make public statements about their claim.

Any member of Congress who has used the Treasury Department fund to settle sexual harassment claims since 1995 would be required to reimburse the government, with interest. The bill also prohibits nondisclosure agreements as a precondition to address sexual harassment or assault claims.

“We need transparency, safety, and appropriate behavior,” said U.S. Rep. Cooper. Sexual misconduct has no place here, or anywhere.”

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Sen. Tracy Picked by Trump to Lead U.S. Agriculture Office

Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy has been appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as state director of the USDA’s Rural Development office. Tracy has since resigned from his current position serving the 14th senatorial district, which includes Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, and parts of Rutherford Counties. Tracy joins a growing list of state legislators who are either seeking another state political office, retiring, seeking a federal position, or have already resigned.

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Twitter Blocks Then Unblocks Congressman Blackburn’s Campaign Video

Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s campaign to run for Corker’s open U.S. Senate seat hit a temporary snag this week. On Monday Twitter censored U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign video in which she said she “stopped the sale of baby body parts,” because it considered the phrase “an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.” Blackburn was sharing the results of her leadership of a select House committee that investigated Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue.

Twitter suggested that Blackburn edit that comment out of her campaign video, which had been viewed by more than 80,000 YouTubers at that point, and then it would be put back up on Twitter. Blackburn refused. “While we are being censored, Planned Parenthood continues to push their propaganda across the country,” Blackburn said.

Only days later, the social media platform lifted the ban on Blackburn’s content. Twitter noted it would consider revising its censorship policy in the future.

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