SLATE OF HATE: Anti-LGBT “License to Discriminate” Bill Clears House

Bill awaits Senate hearing

This week, two pieces of legislation designed to permit and protect  discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community advanced in the state legislature.

Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional, conservatives, reeling in Tennessee, are still writing legislation to protect the unequal treatment of the LGBTQ community.

Pre-emption, discrimination all in one
House Bill 563, sponsored by Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, District 14, passed on a 68-22 vote and is headed to the Senate.

The legislation is cleverly written to make it appear as if it bans discrimination against business owners. But it what it really does is protect company owners who do business with the government and discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

This legislation makes it illegal for state and local governments to consider “internal business policies,” such as a business owner’s choice to deny service to the LGBTQ community, as a factor in approving contracts and tax incentives.

The bill is likely to have unintended consequences because it didn’t stop with eliminating internal non-discrimination policies. The bill also eliminates wages, benefits and maternity leave as factors a government can consider before they sign contracts and make incentive deals with private businesses.

Though some parts of the state would likely be thrilled to pay incentives to a company that pays minimum wages and only meets federal requirements for health care and benefits, the state of Tennessee and major cities have asked more of the companies seeking tax incentives.

The whole state benefits when economic development officials are allowed to recruit companies that pay high wages, offer health and leave benefits above what federal law requires and develop inclusive business practices.

This legislation should be considered an insult to every Tennessee business owner who pays above minimum wage, offers benefits they don’t have to or creates an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Instead, when it comes to government contracts and incentives, this legislation puts on equal footing companies that do the bare minimum and possibly discriminate with companies that do more for employees to recruit top talent.

The Senate version—SB0364—is in the Senate State and Local Government Committee waiting to be put on the calendar for debate.

Adoptions — but not for everyone
Another proposal, House Bill 836, would jeopardize good homes for Tennessee’s 8,000 children in foster care. The bill gives private child-placing agencies permission to deny any person seeking to foster or adopt a child if the placement would “violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions.”

The state Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to debate the bill Tuesday, March 26.

The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34, will likely to come to a House floor the first week of April.

Watch our video on this bill HERE.


Read previous coverage of the anti-LGBTQ adoption bill here.

How they voted:
Full House of Representatives, House Bill 563, March 21:

Representatives voting for the bill:
Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro, District 37
Rep. Clark Boyd, R-Lebanon, District 46
Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, District 47
Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, District 71
Rep. Kent Calfee, R-Kingston, District 32
Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, District 29
Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, District 63
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, District 64
Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, District 23
Rep. Jim Coley, R-Bartlett, District 97
Rep. John Crawford, R-Kingsport, District 1
Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, District 69
Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, District 18
Rep. Clay Doggett, R-Pulaski, District 70
Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, District 16
Rep. Rick Eldridge, R-Morristown, District 10
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, District 11
Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, District 17
Rep. Ron Gant, R-Rossville, District 94
Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, District 45
Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, District 75
Rep. Curtis Halford, R-Dyer, District 79
Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, District 24
Rep. Kirk Haston, R-Lobelville, District 72
Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, District 5
Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge, District 30
Rep. Gary Hicks, R-Rogersville, District 9
Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, District 7
Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, District 3
Rep. John Holsclaw, Jr., R-Elizabethton, District 4
Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, District 76
Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, District 22
Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, District 2
Rep. Chris Hurt, R-Halls, District 82
Rep. Curtis Johnson, R-Clarksville, District 68
Rep. Kelly Keisling, R-Byrdstown, District 38
Rep. Sabi Kumar, R-Springfield, District 66
Rep. Justin Lafferty, R-Knoxville, District 89
Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland, District 44
Rep. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, District 99
Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, District 78
Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet, District 57
Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, District 62
Rep. Debra Moody, R-Covington, District 81
Rep. Jerome Moon, R-Maryville, District 8
Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, District 61
Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, District 36
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, District 33
Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, District 74
Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, District 34
Rep. Iris Rudder, R-Winchester, District 39
Rep. Lowell Russell, R-Vonore, District 21
Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, District 25
Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Bean Station, District 35
Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta, District 43
Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, District 26
Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, District 49
Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, District 31
Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Gray, District 6
Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, District 95
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, District 40
Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, District 83
Rep. Dave Wright, R-Corryton, District 19
Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, District 14

Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, District 90
Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, District 80
Rep. Rick Staples, D-Knoxville, District 15
Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, District 41

Representatives voting No against the bill:
Rep. Bill Beck, D-Nashville, District 51
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis, District 87
Rep. Jesse Chism, D-Memphis, District 85
Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, District 55
Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis, District 86
Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, District 54
Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, District 56
Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, District 28
Rep. G. A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, District 93
Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville, District 67
Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, District 60
Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, District 13
Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, District 91
Rep. Harold Love, Jr., D-Nashville, District 58
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, District 88
Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, District 50
Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, District 98
Rep. Jason Potts, D-Nashville, District 59
Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, District 53
Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, District 52
Rep. Dwayne Thompson, D-Cordova, District 96
Rep. Joe Towns, Jr., D-Memphis, District 84

Representatives Absent or Missed Vote:
Rep. Dale Carr, R-Sevierville, District 12
Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, R-Signal Mountain, District 27
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, District 20
Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, District 77
Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, District 48
Rep. Rick Tillis, R-Lewisberg, District 92
Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, District 73
Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, District 65
Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, District 42

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