Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has reportedly intervened to try and prevent the Tennessee House from pressing ahead with passing the now infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill over other priority legislation.
Reports Nashville Public Radio:
Yesterday a committee of state lawmakers put off dealing with so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation. That’s after hearing in private from an official with Governor Bill Haslam’s office.
Asked about his administration’s reported intervention yesterday, Haslam told reporters he thinks there are simply better things for lawmakers to spend their time on.
“I’ve said before I don’t think that should be a priority of the legislature. I think there’s other things that we can and should be focused on right now, and I’ve been up front about that from the very beginning.”
This is the second time Haslam has openly urged the Legislature to deal with Tennessee’s other issues. However, Haslam has declined to say whether he would veto the legislation if it did reach his desk.
Senate Bill 49 and counterpart measure House Bill 229 sponsored by state Senator Stacey Campfield and (formerly sponsored) by Representative Bill Dunn respectively, both Republicans from Knoxville, was originally designed to prohibit “the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8.”
The Senate passed the bill in a 20 to 10 vote in May of last year with an amendment that states sexuality will not be taught in K-8 except when it relates to “natural human reproductive science.”
This change was supposed to make the bill more palatable to its critics, however critics charge that this amounts to the same gag-rule on discussing LGBT identity that was present in the original bill.
The House bill is currently waiting to be taken up by the House Education Committee. Despite the governor’s intervention, House lawmakers supporting the bill have vowed to return to the legislation by next week.
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