Citing the rapidly changing stances of President Donald Trump and U.S. courts, Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon took his controversial bathroom bill off notice from a house subcommittee Tuesday.
"I wanted to come up with a bill that is common sense and good policy for everybody," Pody said in the House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee. "I have never seen an administration, courts and everything changing so quickly almost week to week."
Pody's bill would require students in public schools and universities to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificates. It has drawn nationwide criticism from opponents who say it discriminates against LGBT students.
While Pody did take the bill off notice, he did leave the door open for its reintroduction later this session.
"We need to work on a different type of amendment to bring language in that would make the bill more appropriate," Pody said.
This is the second time in two years attempts to regulate public bathroom use in schools has failed. Last year, the House sponsor of a similar bill withdrew her legislation for further study.
Pody's bill carried a hefty fiscal note, with the potential for costing the state over $1 billion in federal funds. The fiscal note goes on to estimate that the Davidson County area alone could lose over $500,000 in local tax revenue with the loss of conventions in opposition to the bill.
Last week the Department of Education and the Department of Justice withdrew federal guidelines from the Obama administration that permitted students to use restrooms of their chosen gender. Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally applauded the withdraw as a victory of states rates. McNally went on to say that the bathroom bill was rendered unnecessary thanks to the new direction.
Opponents of the bill gathered in Legislative Plaza before the subcommittee to voice their concerns. Members of the Tennessee Equality Project, ALCU and the LGBT chamber of commerce condemned not only the bathroom bill, but what they called a "slate of hate" in the state legislature. Those bills include the "Natural Marriage Defense Act" and a bill that critics argue would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT community.
"We have watched again and again as lawmakers propose legislation that sends the clear message that LGBT Tennesseans are less than- that they and their families deserve fewer rights than others," said the executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee Hedy Weinberg.
Head of the Tennessee Equality Project Chris Sander said more than 50 members of clergy from around Tennessee have signed on to a letter that began circulating last week opposing anti-LGBT legislation as well.