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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 15, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 16
Anti-Trans bill will cost us billions in federal money, Tennessee AG warns
Section One
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Anti-Trans bill will cost us billions in federal money, Tennessee AG warns

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Passing pending legislation to exclude Transgender students from gender-appropriate restrooms will cost the state of Tennessee as much as $3 billion, the state's attorney general warned on April 11.

Because school districts that receive federal money must comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 - part of which is understood to protect Trans students under the category of discrimination on account of sex - Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III warned that passing restrictive measures would put federal funding in jeopardy.

'In sum, if a transgender student is required by a school district in Tennessee to use a restroom or locker room facility that is consistent with his or her anatomical gender rather than his or her gender expression or gender identity, and if that student files a complaint, [the U.S. Department of Education], applying its current interpretation of Title IX, will almost certainly require the school district to permit the student access to the facility consistent with his or her gender expression, and refusal to do so could very well result in loss of federal funding - at least until [the Department of Education's] interpretation is overruled by authoritative and binding judicial decision,' Slatery wrote in a formal legal opinion.

According to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, some $3 billion in federal funding for the state's schools and universities is at stake. His spokesperson has said that the governor 'trusts our teachers and local school boards to make necessary accommodations' for Transgender students without the need for statewide legislation.

The states of North Carolina and Mississippi are under federal scrutiny because of their newly enacted discriminatory laws.

'We hope that Tennessee's elected officials hear Attorney General Herbert Slatery's clear message - the state's discriminatory, anti-transgender legislation will jeopardize crucial federal funding for the state's public schools,' said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof.

'Any compassionate person can see how cruel this legislation targeting transgender children is. But this warning from the state's top lawyer also makes clear that the terrible bill puts millions of federal education dollars in peril, risking the quality of education received by every single student attending Tennessee's public schools.'

HRC has already released an open letter from executives at the Dow Chemical Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Choice Hotels International, Inc., and Alcoa, Inc. urging Tennessee lawmakers to abandon their legislative assault on Transgender students.

Meanwhile, country music stars Emmylou Harris, Chely Wright, Ty Herndon, and Miley Cyrus are also publicly condemning these discriminatory bills, as is Viacom, the parent company of Country Music Television.

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