Committee Advances Bill Restricting Transgender Students’ Access to Restrooms

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
April 6, 2016 10:00 am

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ACLU of Tennessee
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NASHVILLE – Today the House Education Administration & Planning Committee voted to advance HB 2414, which would prohibit transgender students from accessing restrooms and other sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee:

“We are deeply disappointed by the House Education Administration & Planning Committee’s decision to advance this discriminatory and costly bill that that does nothing to increase the safety and well-being of Tennessee students. Not only does this legislation violate the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions along with U.S. anti-discrimination laws, but it also comes at a huge cost to taxpayers. We are disappointed that lawmakers ignored the growing chorus of opposition to this bill from a diverse range of Tennesseans, including transgender students and their families, educators, clergy, doctors, the business community, the entertainment industry, advocates and more. Every child in Tennessee deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We will continue to fight this harmful legislation.”

BACKGROUND

The committee had previously voted to send the bill to summer study on March 22, but decided to reconsider the measure.

In the interim, opposition to the measure has been growing. Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President and CEO Butch Spyridon has expressed concern that the bill will hurt Tennessee’s tourism industry, citing two groups that have already stated that they will decline to hold future conventions here should the bill pass, leading to loss of revenue for the state.

Viacom, the parent company for CMT, issued a statement on Tuesday in opposition to the bill and executives from the Dow Chemical Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Choice Hotels International, Inc., and Alcoa, Inc. have sent a letter to legislative leaders urging lawmakers to abandon the legislation.

Entertainment industry stakeholders such as Peter Kurland, the business agent for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 492 in Nashville, have expressed concern about the potential loss of entertainment sector jobs, citing the decision by production company Lionsgate — which leads the production of the television show “Nashville,” filmed in Tennessee — to move one hundred jobs out of North Carolina after the passage of related legislation in that state.

Musicians Miley Cyrus, Ty Herndon and Gretchen Peters have all publicly voiced opposition to the legislation as well.

The Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee issued a fiscal note stating that should this bill be passed, “federal funding to the state for education could be jeopardized.” Tennessee received over $1,000,000,000 in federal funding to secondary or postsecondary public institutions in FY 15-16. Governor Haslam has expressed concern that this bill could endanger federal funding for education.

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