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TENNESSEE BILL ON DEFENSE OF SCHOOL BATHROOM POLICY FAILS

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A Tennessee bill that would have required the state attorney general’s office to defend local school districts over their bathroom policies for transgender students appears dead for the year. The measure failed to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday amid concerns it could prove costly. One of the provisions of the bill allows school districts to use private attorneys if the state attorney general’s office didn’t want to take the case. Some lawmakers saw it as a gift to lawyers at the expense of taxpayers. LGBT advocates have said the bill was meant to embolden school boards to pass policies that discriminate against transgender students, knowing the state would provide for the legal defense if they were sued. The bill would have provided for the defense of school systems that adopted policies requiring transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms based on their sex at birth. It also would have allowed schools to provide transgender students with other accommodations if they were not comfortable using facilities based on their gender at birth.