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ACTION ALERT- 4/9/21 Legislative Update, Open Letter Release Monday

Advocacy Chamber News Release

ACTION ALERT - 4/9/21 Legislative Update,

Open Letter Release Monday


Where we are:

Businesses continued to engage against discrimination this week. We saw more anti-LGBT bills move forward this week. We have another very busy week ahead and we are going to be releasing the open letter with a press conference that will make clear the business impact these bills will have. Action items and info you need to know below. 

We will hold a press conference at 10am on Monday, April 12th. A media advisory is out and we expect national and statewide press to attend. We have a strong list of speakers ready to make their statement against discrimination and discuss what the impact of passage could be. All of this is in hopes to inform the public and add needed pressure against the bills. Legislators need to continue to hear from the business community and public on the opposition. 

If you have not signed this year there is still time to do so and make a big impact on stopping the huge amount of anti-LGBT legislation we are facing. We will take signers until Sunday at midnight, to guarantee you will be included in the Monday 10 am release. 

Join us at 10am and then watch for and share the news coverage. 


A recap/reminder of what we are facing- 
Tennessee has record amounts of discriminatory bills moving forward and statistics and history that are shaping the narrative that will fuel the extreme fallout. 

Tennessee has: 

  • Overall
    • The state with the most anti-LGBT bills filed this year.
    • The state with the most bills filed ever, with over 70+ since 2015. 
    • The state with the most to lose. Tennessee has so much going on in regards to business and tourism and we will be record-breaking in the level of economic harm and fallout around passing these bills.
  • Bathroom Bills
    • The only state that has had a bathroom bill filed every year since North Carolina passed the bathroom bill in 2016. 
    • The only state that had a bathroom bill filed this year, we have TWO bathroom bills up this year. 
      • If those bathroom bills pass, the only state that has passed a bathroom bill since North Carolina in 2016. 
  • Trans Healthcare Bans
    • We have two different versions of this bill. 
    • The state with the most impactful trans-healthcare ban bill, this bill has criminal penalties for parents and doctors that seek to help trans-youth. 
    • The other bill sets up a commission that has to give approval for transgender youth to be treated. 
  • Censoring and Silencing LGBT Education and Voices in Schools
    • There are two bills that stop anything related to the LGBT people from being taught in schools. 
    • One bill removes and prohibits a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity to be brought up in teaching, and stops works from LGBT authors from being read or performed. 
    • The other bill allows parents to “opt-out” their children from being taught anything related to LGBT people, because in the words of the sponsor “that should be taught in the home

What happened this week:

With that warning going out and becoming even more clear, we saw engagement this week in a number of ways. 

  • We had even more signers to our open letter of Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination with Bonaroo, Google Fiber, Bird, and Ryman Hospitality signing on as corporations. The small businesses across Tennessee continue to grow as well. We are still taking signers. 
  • Business leaders continued to have one on one conversations with House and Senate leadership. Several letters went out and we will be sharing some of those on Monday. The direct impact is working and we need more of it. 

With that happening, we still saw discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation move forward this week. 

  • Monday the “Opt-Out LGBT teaching” bill passed the Tennessee Senate. The Senate also deferred the “Bathroom 2.0 bill” for two weeks. 
  • Tuesday the “Trans Healthcare Commission” bill moved forward in the House Healthcare Subcommittee.  
  • Wednesday the “Bathroom 2.0” bill passed out of House Finance Ways and Means Committee and the “Transgender Healthcare Ban” moved forward in Senate Health Subcommittee.  

Here is coverage of the bills in the media. News you should know:


The week ahead:

The schedule of discriminatory bills to be heard this week. See a bill report of further details on the bills at the bottom of the email.  


Monday, April 12th:

10am - Tennessee Business Opposed to Discrimination Press Conference and open letter release.  

Tuesday, April 13th: 

House Ways and Means Committee

HB1233 Zachary - “Bathroom Bill 2.0” - We plan to testify against this bill. Make calls and emails to this committee. 

Senate Judiciary Committee

SB1224 Rose - “Bathroom Signage bill” - We plan to testify against this bill. Make calls and emails to this committee.


Wednesday, April 14th: 

House Floor - 

HB529 Moody - “Opt-Out LGBT Teaching” bill. - This looks to pass the House and then sent to the Governor. 

House Health Committee

HB578 Ragan - “Anti-Trans Healthcare Ban” 

HB1027 Kumar - “Trans Hormone Ban” 


Take action:

Businesses and Organizations: If you have not, you can still sign the open letter of Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination. Corporations and small businesses are encouraged to sign, use the form to do so.

Sign up on the form by midnight April 11th to be included in the release. 

Individuals: Please talk to your employer or business you frequent on signing the open letter. 

The Tennessee Equality Project has direct action campaigns to contact your legislators by email and phone calls. They can be found here. Please take action. 


2021 Nashville LGBT Chamber bill tracklist:


SB228/HB3 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Cepicky: “Anti-trans student-athlete bill”

This bill repeats the effort to prevent transgender students from participating in high school and middle school sports. It ties a student's gender to the original birth certificate.  The "whereas" clauses attempt to pit transgender people against women's sports.  

Signed in to law by Governor Lee on March 26.

Anti-Trans Healthcare- 

SB657/HB578 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan: “Anti-trans healthcare ban”

This bill criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender youth. It penalizes doctors and parents for seeking treatment for their child. 

Bathroom Bills- 

SB193/HB372 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Casada: “LGBT diversity training opt-out” 

This bill allows employees of state or local government (which also includes public universities and colleges) to skip training or seminars that conflict with their values or religious beliefs.  We believe that the bill provides a way of undermining LGBTQ-inclusive training sessions and seminars offered by government entities. 

SB1229/HB529by Sen. Rose and Rep. Moody:  

This bill would require public schools to notify parents before offering any curriculum about sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill allows parents to opt their children out of such instruction. 

SB1216/HB800 by Sen. Niceley and Rep. Griffey: 

This bill censors LGBTQ content in public school textbooks and instructional materials. It's an updated version of the old "Don't Say Gay" bill.

SB1238/HB1177 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton: 

This legislation is an anti-transgender "bathroom" bill.

SB562/HB233by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Leatherwood: 

This bill appears to be a caption bill that would eventually carry explicitly anti-marriage equality language. It pertains to marriage licensing and definitions.

SB1208 by Sen. Pody:  

"As introduced, prohibits this state and any political subdivision of this state, or any official of this state or a political subdivision, from creating, enforcing, or endorsing policies that respect or promote non-secular self-asserted sex-based identity narratives, sexual orientation orthodoxy, or non-secular marriage doctrine because the policies fail the Lemon test, as established by the United States Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)." Note: There is no House sponsor at this time.


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