After a whirlwind few days wherein the TN House Republican Caucus discussed the viability of bringing all state legislators back to Nashville to debate transgender bathroom access in Tennessee, Chairman Glen Casada has decided to put the plan for a special session on hold.
That's the good news.
The bad news is—without requiring legislative input—Tennessee's attorney general has agreed to fight the ACLU's challenge to the Sumner County schools' new transgender bathroom ban.
Last week the Obama administration via the Departments of Education and Justice submitted a set of 'guidelines' to school districts across the nation, advising that they are bound by Title IX anti-discrimination rules as it regards transgender bathroom access in education. The announcement irked conservatives in the area, particularly in Tennessee where an anti-trans bathroom bill died in committee earlier this year.
While it was unclear exactly what sort of legislative act would have been undertaken had the full legislature reconvened, the primary concern from Chairman Casada was reportedly that school districts would be sued, and it was unclear where the state attorney general stood on the issue.
WKRN is reporting that Casada has received word from Attorney General Herbert Slatery's office that it would defend Sumner County schools in its contested anti-trans bathroom ban from the ACLU of Tennessee. As well, Governor Bill Haslam offered support, saying, "My full intention would be for the state to help them in every way that we can if they are sued."
For these reasons, Casada has decided there is no need for a special session, though he's vowed to keep his petition on file for the next while, in case he sees reason to bring it back.
Earlier this week The Tennessean reported that Casada had polled the House Republican Caucus in light of the Obama guidelines and 57 out of the required 66 legislators agreed to a special session. Had he reached the goal, it would've triggered a similar vote in the Senate before progressing to a special session.