ACTION ALERT! We need you to act now to stop discrimination.
It has been a busy few weeks over at the State Capitol on the last few remaining bills that could have a negative impact on the LGBT and Business community in Tennessee. We are winding down but MORE ACTION is needed! Don’t wait and not act.
We have developed an open letter to submit to the Governor's office, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House and Senate Leadership. If your company is willing to sign onto this statement and submit it to our state's leaders, please contact me ASAP. Read more below on other ways to get involved.
Where we are at-
Yesterday, in the Senate State and Local Government committee, Senate Bill 364 by Senator Paul Rose (License to Discriminate Bill) was rolled until 2020, effectively stopping the measure until next year. Be sure to email Chairman Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) to thank him for helping stop this bad bill! He can be reached at Sen.Steven.Dickerson@capitol.tn.gov.
There was a lot of pressure from groups and businesses put on the sponsor to not push the bill, he heard and it worked and we thank you. Speaking up and taking action works and we need more of it.
There is a lot of momentum with pushing back and speaking out.
This week, our member, Warner Music Group sent a letter to the Governor and Legislative Leadership against all these bills, and we appreciate them adding their voice to the fight!
Longtime member and supporter Mike Curb and CURB Music also came out strongly against the “Slate of Hate” with a statement and donation. Please take a second to read his powerful words.
We are also thankful to TechNet, a national group of technology companies, for speaking out as well. We hope several of our tech members will take TechNet's statement and release their own.
We have been coordinating with the other state business groups including the TN Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nashville Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and the hospitality and tourism industry to telegraph the message that TN Businesses DO NOT want these bills to pass and we need to avoid the damage North Carolina suffered!
The week ahead-
There are two other bills which will be heard next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee for their final meeting that the business community needs to help defeat!
Senate Bill 1499 by Senator Joey Hensley/ House Bill 1274 by Rep. Andy Holt (AG Harassment Enforcement bill) would force the Attorney General to defend any local school district which institutes an anti-transgender bathroom policy.
Senate Bill 1304 by Senator Mark Pody/ House Bill 836 by Rep. Tim Rudd (Adoption bill) would allow child placement agencies to deny adoption or foster care services based on their religious or moral beliefs.
Senate Bill 1297 by Senator Mark Pody/ House Bill 1151 by Rep. John Ragan (Indecent Exposure) is an unnecessary change to existing law, was amended in committee to substantially reduce the harm of the bill as introduced, but as amended could still put transgender and non-binary people at increased risk of harassment and entanglement with law enforcement simply for using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. This bill has passed the House but will be scheduled for a Senate Floor vote likely next week. We got this amended in committee to be harmless and then we focused on more harmful bills. Now that we have defeated or deferred many, we can come back and focus our energies on it because it was conceived as an anti-trans bill to begin with.
All of these bills send the wrong message to the state's LGBT workforce and the business community looking to expand to Tennessee. They are likely to impact TN businesses ability to retain and support a diverse workplace for all.
TAKE ACTION- WHAT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS/COMPANY CAN DO-
1. We have developed an open letter to submit to the Governor's office, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House and Senate Leadership. If your company is willing to sign onto this statement and submit it to our state's leaders, please contact me ASAP.
2. Contact your legislators via www.capitol.tn.gov and especially the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee below. If you have contacts at any businesses, facilities or plants in these areas below who can lend their voice, please ask them to contact their legislators. Here are talking points against the legislation that we have compiled for use.
Chairman Mike Bell (R- Bradley, Meigs, McMinn, Monroe, and Polk counties)
Sen. Jon Lundberg (R- Johnson, Sullivan, and Carter counties)
Sen. Dawn White (R- Rutherford county)
Sen. Janice Bowling (R- Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren, and Warren counties)
Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R- Hamilton and Bradley counties)
Sen. Sara Kyle (D- Shelby county)
Sen. Katrina Robinson (D- Shelby county)
Sen. Kerry Roberts- (R- Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Robertson counties)
Sen. John Stevens (R- Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, Obion, and Weakley counties)
3. Show up in RED at next week's Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 23 at 1:00 p.m. to show your opposition to SB 1499 and SB 1304! Schedules do change this time of year so watch for any updates. It does make a difference when they have to look at the people affected in the eyes as they pass this legislation.
4. FORWARD this on and spread the word. Please take action. We need you. And STAY ENGAGED, the session is almost over but we can’t stop paying attention until it is.
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK.