Sanders: the legislature may not be finished yet

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Chris Sanders w tep graphic for web.jpg

Spring weather, patios with drinks, no school, vacations coming—nothing to worry about, right?

I know that’s where everyone’s head is, so the main thing I am going to try to get you to do today is get your head back in the game because the dangers posed by our Legislature are not over yet.

The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert reported on Monday that the State House is about nine votes away from having enough members to get to the ⅔ threshold needed to qualify for a special legislative session.  Ebert’s piece went on to say that if the House hits 66 in favor of a special session, then the Senate will start gathering the votes to do the same, even though Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey does not think a special session is necessary at this point.

And what would this special legislative session be about?  It would focus on anti-transgender student bathroom proposals. The Legislature could explore a resolution urging or even authorizing the Attorney General to fight President Obama’s guidance to school districts or they could go further and try to pass the bill they attempted to pass for four months earlier this year.

After the toughest legislative session in years, I am personally eager to move on from it.  I know you are, too.  It is really hard to sustain the energy to fight back week after week in the face of these brutal attacks.  But my job is to make sure you understand the danger our state faces.

If the Legislature calls itself into a special session, the members will likely pass something, and the results will be disastrous. The harassment of transgender people in our state will escalate. More will consider taking their own lives.  Federal funding for already underfunded Tennessee schools will be in jeopardy.  The pressure for economic boycotts will grow and ultimately that will hurt all of us–no matter on what side of the issue we find ourselves.

I urge everyone to contact your state representative using this link:  https://ujoin.co/campaigns/128/actions/public .  Our best hope of avoiding discriminatory legislation is for the citizens to convince the Legislature not to call itself back into session.  Let’s do our part to face the situation before it comes an emergency.  Then we can get back to those patios and summer breezes.

Chris Sanders is the Executive Director of Tennessee Equality Project, the statewide organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of the state.