ADVOCACY UPDATE: Four Priority Discriminatory Bills in 2022
There were several bills filed and several more from the last session that are still out there that are discriminatory to the LGBTQ+ community. Our partners at the Tennessee Equality Project have a complete bill list of all bills that are or could be anti-LGBTQ+ and action campaigns on them.
The Chamber has identified 4 priority bills that we will focus the business community on stopping. All bills that discriminate are bad for business and make Tennessee a less desirable place to live and work. The 4 identified below are the ones that will significantly harm businesses' ability to attract and retain the talent they need, and make LGBTQ+ people and parents of LGBTQ+ youth feel harassed, excluded, and marginalized.
Our target bills-
“Youth Healthcare Ban”
SB2696/HB2835 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan
As introduced, enacts the “Youth Health Protection Act.”
Don't let the short summary deceive you. This is one of the most far-reaching attacks on gender-affirming health care for trans and non-binary youth in the country. This bill is an exported bill from the Heritage Foundation and is also up in 3 other states. This is the updated version of the Tran Healthcare ban SB657/HB578 that was pushed last year and is still active.
“Anti-Trans Athlete Enforcement Fine”
SB1861/HB1895 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan
As introduced, requires the commissioner of education to withhold a portion of the state education finance funds that an LEA is otherwise eligible to receive if the LEA fails or refuses to determine a student's gender, for purposes of participation in school sports, by the student's sex at the time of birth; exempts an LEA that fails or refuses to determine a student's gender, for purposes of participation in school sports, by the student's sex at the time of birth if the LEA's failure or refusal to do so is required by a court or other legally binding order.
This bill is specifically targeting Metro Public Schools who stated they would not enforce the Anti-Trans Student-Athlete law passed last year. This is a fine on any school system that does so.
“Anti-Trans Athletes in Higher-Ed Ban”
SB2153/HB2316 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan
As introduced, prohibits males from participating in public higher education sports that are designated for females; creates a cause of action for violations that deprive a student of an athletic opportunity or that cause direct or indirect harm to a student at the middle school, high school, or postsecondary level.
This is an anti-trans athlete bill targeting public colleges and universities. This is another attack on transgender youth and now adults.
“Anti-Pronoun in Schools Bill”
SB2777/HB2633 by Sen. Bell and Rep. Cochran
As introduced, specifies that a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA is not required to refer to a student using the student's preferred pronoun if the pronoun does not align with the student's biological sex; insulates a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA from civil liability and adverse employment action for referring to a student using the pronoun aligned with the student's biological sex instead of the student's preferred pronoun.
This bill allows teachers to not have to use a student's preferred pronouns. This goes against an inclusive and safe educational setting for LGBTQ+ and allied students to be identified with the pronouns they prefer and stops the mutual respect that using and identifying pronouns allows.
Those are the 4 major bills but there are also numerous curriculum/education bills that have been filed and do or could discriminate against LGBT people. Again, TEP has these listed here and we will continue to monitor them.