A so-called bathroom bill cleared the state Senate today.
The measure, SB 1367/HB 1233, would allow students and teachers to refuse to share restrooms with transgender people. Schools that don’t comply could be opened to the risk of litigation.
But Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbo, D-Nashville, argued the legislation could be costly to the state and its schools.
“We are putting our schools in a place where they’re going to be violating federal law,” said Yarbo. “It doesn’t help our schools navigate this situation and it certainly doesn’t help the students who are targeted.”
This is just one proposal in a trend of anti-transgender legislation moving through the state legislature. A bill restricting transgender athletes from playing sports passed earlier this session and a bill limiting gender-affirming medical care for minors is still being debated.
The measure would allow students, teachers and school employees to submit a written request to not share bathrooms with those assigned a different sex at birth.
Backers say that this bill would give school administrators a clear path for accommodating students.
“If you don’t think this is an issue our schools are dealing with, you need to talk to your local schools,” said Riceville Sen. Mike Bell, one of the bill’s sponsors.
But the bill would not require accommodations for those seeking to use a bathroom different from their sex at birth — like transgender students or teachers.
Nashville Democrat Heidi Campbell said measures like these aim to “cancel” the LGBTQ community.
“There are human beings on the other sides of these votes who will have to live with the fallout,” said Campbell. “And I just ask us all to consider what harm are they causing us?”
The bill will move to the House floor next, where it is expected to pass.