TTPC regroups for another legislative session, chooses slate of bills to monitor

An election year often means very little substantive legislation, but it also means political grandstanding for votes.

For that reason, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition is approach the current session of the Tennessee General Assembly with care.

“Every year is a big year, but this one is going to be really busy,” said Dr. Marisa Richmond, president. “We have a lot of legislation that carried over from the last session, and there will be some new bills as well.”

The organization is staking out pro and con positions on several items, including strong opposition to HB0821, which would prevent teachers from discussing sexual diversity. Early movement on this bill has been limited to shuffling among subcommittees, but it’s one that bears watching, Richmond says. On the pro side, the group is lobbying for HB0776, which would provide pay equality in the workplace.

“Many of these bills, both good and bad, may not go anywhere but we need to keep up with them,” she says. “But we also have several bills, including the specialty hate crimes bill, that we’re hoping to get moved out of the House Judiciary Committee if we can get enough support there.”

TTPC also is putting its weight behind a bill that would allow transgendered persons to amend their birth certificate, as well as legislation on other issues of interest to the community. The group is also coordinating with other state and national partners to push Congress to move on the proposed expansions to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, currently bogged down in partisan debate.

“Everyone is frustrated with that, but we’re hopeful,” Richmond says. “Our approach to legislation varies from issue to issue, but we reach out to partner with everyone that we can to see where we can accomplish the most. We want to help promote things like Advancing Equality Day, because when people get involved at the state level it helps when we’re trying to move on things at the federal level as well.”

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