Education LGBT

Tennessee Republicans Revive Their Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill

Tennessee's anti-transgender bathroom bill that would have made it a crime for a transgender person to use a bathroom that corresponds with the gender they identify as and prohibit schools from making any accommodation for transgender students died in committee on Tuesday, but Republicans in the state legislature revived the bill yesterday evening.

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday voted 7-3 in favor of the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Bell of Riceville. Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Jim Coley of Bartlett told the House Education Administration and Planning Committee that he will seek to have the committee reconsider its decision to study the measure after the Legislature adjourns for the year.

While the state Senate has already advanced the bill through the Education Committee, Republicans in the state House of Representatives are also moving to revive the bill.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) is opposed to the legislation because it could cost the state over a $1 billion in federal funding and open the door for a Title IX lawsuit, among other things.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) did not have the good sense of Governor Haslam (R) or South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R), both of whom have opposed anti-transgender bathroom bills passed by their state legislatures on the basis that they will deeply damage and isolate the state.

Governor McCrory signed HB2 into law last night after a one-day special session in which the entire process of passing the bill was completed. It was jammed through as quickly as possible and the state is going to pay dearly for it.

If there is any silver lining to be found here, the coming monsoon of litigation against North Carolina could dissuade other states from following suit but I expect this will eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court. Republicans often complain about about decisions handed down by the "unelected" judges of the Supreme Court, but they are the ones who insist on pushing every single social issue to the brink.

Republican refusal to hold a hearing on or confirm President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is not unrelated to this.