The day after the election, legislators began filing discriminatory bills. The following is the emerging Slate of Hate for 2023. The description of the bills is meant to be basic and not exhaustive of every implication. The legislative session begins on January 10, 2023.
Bills that clearly and directly attack the LGBTQ community
SB1/HB1 by Sen. Johnson and Rep. Lamberth. Bans gender-affirming care for minors.
SB3/HB9 by Sen. Johnson and Rep. Todd. Restricts public drag performances and could also have the effect of putting trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people in danger.
SB5/HB1138 by Sen. Bowling and Sen. Ragan. Another bill banning gender-affirming care for minors.
SB841/HB30 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Doggett. Another bill connecting drag performances to adult cabaret performances. It defines a permitting process and prohibits the attendance of those under 18.
SB1440/HB239 by Sen. Roberts and Rep. Bulso. As introduced, adds "sex" as a defined term for statutory construction purposes.
SB1237/HB306 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Bulso. As introduced, authorizes a private school to create a policy to regulate a student's participation in the school's athletic activities or events based upon a student's biological sex. This is another anti-trans student athlete bill. The bill was later amended to use TSSAA to exclude transgender athletes at private schools from league participation.
SB466/HB1269 by Sen. Rose and Rep. Cochran. As introduced, specifies that a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA is not required to refer to a student using the student's preferred pronoun if the pronoun is not consistent with the student's biological sex; insulates a teacher or other employee of a public school or LEA from civil liability and adverse employment action for referring to a student using the pronoun that is consistent with the student's biological sex.
SB596/HB878 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Fritts. As introduced, states that a person is not required to solemnize a marriage if the person has an objection to solemnizing the marriage based on the person's conscience or religious beliefs.
SB1339/HB1215 by Sen. Johnson and Speaker Sexton. As introduced, prohibits any managed care organization that contracts with the bureau of TennCare to provide medical assistance from providing reimbursement or coverage for a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of enabling a person to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the person's sex, or treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between a person's sex and asserted identity.
SB1110/HB1386 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan. As introduced, enacts the "Marital Contract at Common Law Recording Act"; authorizes county clerks to accept and record a record of common law marriage between one man and one woman; limits the jurisdiction of circuit courts and chancery courts in cases involving the definition of common law marriage to the principles of common law marriage.
SB620/HB1414 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Todd. As introduced, enacts the "Families' Rights and Responsibilities Act", which declares that the ability of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of that parent’s child is a fundamental right. Note the language on gender identity in the bill.
SB1469/HB1447 by Sen. Johnson and Rep. Faison. As introduced, clarifies that prescribing hormone treatment for minors is not a standard medical practice when the treatment is for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex or treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between a minor's sex and asserted identity.
SB1044/HB1379 by Senator Hensley and Rep. Ragan. This is a caption bill that would sneak in anti-trans bathroom language for any setting that could be defined as a camp.
SB918/HB1319 by Senator Rose and Rep. Kumar. This is a caption bill with an amendment that would have the effect of restricting the display of flags such as Pride flags and Black Lives Matter flags on public buildings.
SB1443/HB727 by Sen. Roberts and Rep. Hulsey. As introduced, requires a student's parent or legal guardian, or the student if the student has reached the age of majority, to provide a written, informed, and voluntarily signed consent to the student's LEA before the student may receive instruction through the LEA's family life curriculum, participate in a survey, analysis, or evaluation, or receive health services provided through a coordinated school health program. Note: This bill was later amended to include language about sexual orientation/gender identity curriculum.
SB1117/HB1411 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Fritts. As introduced, requires an LEA to obtain a student's parent's or legal guardian's consent to allow the student to participate in instruction, an activity, evaluation, assessment, survey, or analysis offered by the student's LEA. Note: This bill was later amended to include language about sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum.
Bills that could have discriminatory implications for the LGBTQ community
SB102/HB158 by Sen. Gardenhire and Rep. Zachary. Prohibits public school districts and public higher education institutions from requiring an employee to go through implicit bias training. Note: The primary target of this bill is likely implicit bias training related to race. It may affect training related to sexual orientation and gender identity, though it is unclear how extensively those issues are discussed in implicit bias training in Tennessee school districts or Tennessee higher education institutions. Practice seems to vary.
SB138/HB161 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Eldridge. This bill regulates phones and tablets sold in Tennessee and filtering of material deemed harmful to minors. It appears to be dealing with pornography, but it could be used to filter LGBTQ content.
SB603/HB571 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Carringer. As introduced, prohibits public institutions of higher education offering certain medical and health-related degree or certificate programs, and state contractors, from requiring diversity, equity, and inclusion training and education for purposes of the issuance of a degree, or the approval of a state contract or grant, as applicable. Note: It is not clear the extent to which the practice is occurring with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity in Tennessee.
SB817/HB1376 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan. As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Higher Education Freedom of Expression and Transparency Act.
SB1141/HB1377 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Ragan. As introduced, creates a process by which certain individuals may file a complaint with an LEA or public charter school for the LEA's or public charter school's including or promoting certain prohibited concepts as part of a course of instruction, in a curriculum or instructional program, or by allowing teachers or other employees to use supplemental materials that include or promote certain prohibited concepts.
SB681/HB774 by Sen. Reeves and Rep. Moon. As introduced, enacts the "Protecting Tennessee Businesses and Workers Act."
SB290/HB370 by Sen. Yarbro and Rep. Clemmons. As introduced, requires the department of health to seek federal funding to implement programs for the prevention, testing, and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for residents of this state, including programs in partnership with community and nonprofit partners; requires the department to annually report to the general assembly certain information about the programs and funding.
SB1078/HB1040 by Sen. Yarbro and Rep. Jernigan. As introduced, excludes materials obtained by an individual teacher, which are made available in the teacher's classroom to students assigned to the teacher's class or classes, from having to be identified in a list posted on the school's website, and from being subject to the development, review, and feedback process established by the school's local board of education or public charter school governing body for materials in the school's library collection.
How to help
1. Sign up to host postcard parties. We already have more than 20 in the works around the state. Contact us at [email protected] .
2. Save the date. Advancing Equality Day on the Hill part 1 takes place on February 15.
3. Sign up to be a district captain any time and learn how to engage your two state legislators. Contact us at [email protected] .