Tennessee transgender bathroom bill fails in Senate panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A bill to require students at public schools and colleges in Tennessee to use restrooms and locker rooms matching the gender listed their birth certificates failed in a Senate committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Mae Beavers, a Mt. Juliet Republican who announced this week that she is exploring a bid for governor in 2018, failed to a receive a motion from any member of the Senate Education Committee. The lack of a motion effectively kills the bill that had been subject to several demonstrations at the state Capitol this year.

Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally of Oak Ridge lauded the panel for deciding not to pursue the bill this year after President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew former President Barack Obama’s directive that schools let students use bathrooms of their self-identified gender.

“The president’s reversal of the Obama administration’s overreaching cultural assault brings the issue back where it belongs: our local communities,” McNally said in an email. “Unneeded legislation would only result in invasive litigation placing our school bathroom policies in the hands of federal judges rather than our friends and neighbors.”

On the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court recently opted not to decide whether federal anti-discrimination law applied in a school transgender bathroom case.

Similar legislation failed in Tennessee last year.

Opponents of passing a bathroom bill point to the backlash that hit North Carolina after its Legislature approved a similar bill in March 2016. Several major sports organizations shifted events away from North Carolina, and businesses such as PayPal decided not to expand in the state. In November, Republican Pat McCrory, who signed and defended the bill, became the only incumbent governor to lose in the general election.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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