Sponsor Pulls Bill Restricting Transgender Students’ Access to Restrooms

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
April 18, 2016 5:00 pm

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NASHVILLE – Today Rep. Susan Lynn took HB 2414, the bill that would have prohibited transgender students from accessing restrooms and other sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity, off notice.

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

“We are gratified that Representative Susan Lynn heeded the extensive opposition to this bill from all corners of the state and decided to take this discriminatory and harmful legislation off notice. This measure would have had a devastating financial impact on the state, let alone the damage that it would have caused vulnerable students in Tennessee. Today’s move helps ensure that every child in Tennessee will be treated with respect and dignity. We will remain vigilant to ensure that all Tennessee children are treated equally under the law.”


The Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee issued a fiscal note for this legislation stating that should this bill be passed, “federal funding to the state for education could be jeopardized,” an assertion that has been reinforced by a state attorney general’s opinion. According to the fiscal note, the governor’s FY16-17 budget includes over $1.3 billion in federal funding to secondary or postsecondary public institutions. Governor Haslam has expressed concern that this bill could endanger federal funding for education.

The fiscal note also estimates a loss of $800,000 in state and local tax revenue and an increase in state expenditures of $324,000.

Over the past month, numerous businesses, individuals and organizations have expressed opposition to HB 2414/SB 2387.

Transgender students, their families, and representatives from the ACLU of Tennessee and other advocacy organizations delivered a petition opposing the legislation to the governor’s office today that included over 67,000 signatures, including nearly 6,000 people who self-identified as either clergy or people of faith when signing.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. cited three groups that stated that they would definitely cancel already-scheduled conventions should this legislation pass. Nine other groups said that they would likely cancel events should the bill pass, leading to an immediate projected loss of $58 million in revenue and $10 million in state and local taxes in Nashville alone.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero also issued a statement declaring that the measure would have “damaging consequences for tourism and economic development.”

Viacom, the parent company for CMT, released a statement in opposition to the bill and executives from the Dow Chemical Company; Hewlett Packard Enterprises; Choice Hotels International, Inc.; Alcoa, Inc. and over fifty other companies 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. Actors Connie Britton and Chris Carmack, who stars in “Nashville” have spoken out against the measure.

Music industry organizations ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, the Country Music Association, the Recording Industry Association of America and the Music Business Association have opposed the bill. Musicians Emmylou Harris, Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ty Herndon, Chely Wright, Gretchen Peters and Desmond Child have all publicly condemned the legislation as well.

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