Pupil Privacy Protection Legislation Advances, Long Way to Go Still
Yesterday was a miracle. House Bill 2414 that protects the privacy of students in the bathrooms and locker rooms of our public schools and colleges was dead as a doornail at 3 p.m., yet at 7 p.m. passed by an 8-4 vote of the House Education Administration and Planning Committee!
Read on to find out more about what took place yesterday and what three things I need you to do to show your support for the "bathroom bill."
Four votes took place yesterday. There was a motion by Rep. Fitzhugh to adjourn the committee for the year, which would have killed any effort to reconsider the committee's action from two weeks ago that killed the bill. That was defeated. There was the critical motion to reconsider the action from two weeks ago that sent the bill to a dead-end summer study committee. Rep. Jim Coley (who made the motion two weeks ago) made that critical motion yesterday and, it sounded like it was seconded by Rep. Kevin Brooks or it could have been seconded by Rep. Smith, but I couldn't hear that well. Without that vote, the bill was dead. That passed. Then Rep. Mark White made a motion like the one two weeks ago to send the bill to a summer study committee because he thought there had to be a better way to solve the problem than by the language/bill before them. It was seconded by a few folks whose voices I could not distinguish. That motion failed. Then there was the vote on the bill, which passed.
The first thing I am asking you to do is to please take a moment to email your thanks to the legislators who voted for the bill, even if they do not represent you. They were under tremendous pressure not to support the bill from the LGBT activists and their big business allies, the ACLU, and the governor’s office not to support the bill.
The following persons, who are to be thanked, voted FOR reconsideration, AGAINST a summer study, and FOR the Bill:
Harry Brooks (Knoxville)
Kevin Brooks (Cleveland)
Jim Coley (Memphis)
Kevin Dunlap (Rock Island)
Debra Moody (Covington)
Eddie Smith (Knoxville)
Dawn White (Murfreesboro)
Rick Womick (Rockvale)
The following legislators voted AGAINST reconsideration, voted FOR the second motion for a summer study committee, and voted AGAINST the bill: Kent Calfee (Kingston), Craig Fitzhugh (Ripley), Johnnie Turner (Memphis), and Mark White (Memphis).
The bill will be in the House Finance Committee some time next week (not yet determined) and in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.
A member of one of the Finance Committees told us last night that the Governor's Department of Economic and Community Development appears to be working on creating a fiscal note to the effect that protecting our children will cost the state existing businesses (that might move), future expansions, or tourism revenue. It would appear that the Department hopes this will provide members of the Finance Committees the justification they need to vote against the bill—"for the sake of the economy, jobs, and tax revenue."
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is coordinating an effort to pressure businesses to threaten the state, even as they have done in North Carolina. These businesses fear boycotts from HRC and its constituencies and many have high-ranking officers who are LGBT activists themselves.
We must respond!
The second thing I am asking you to do is to let these Finance Committee members and our governor know that our values and our children are not for sale. Click on the "Take Action" button below to contact the Finance Committee members by email.
Third, but not least, please pray for bill sponsors Rep. Susan Lynn and Sen. Mike Bell, for the rest of our legislators, and for our governor.
David Fowler, President
Family Action of Tennessee