HB0563/SB0364 – Insures religious freedom for internal business policies. Zachary/Gardenhire

Bill Description

This bill prohibits state and local governments from taking discriminatory action against a business based on the policies of the business entity regarding the following, if the policies are in compliance with state and federal statutes, rules, and regulations:
(1) Health insurance policies and the coverage provided thereunder;
(2) Family leave policies;
(3) Minimum wage policies; or
(4) Anti-discrimination policies.
This bill defines "discriminatory action" as any action taken by a state or local government to:
(1) Alter the tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, a business;
(2) Deny, delay, or revoke a business' tax exemption;
(3) Withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, deny, or otherwise make unavailable to a business any grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, bond issue, license, certification, or other similar opportunity, position, or status; or
(4) Withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, deny, or otherwise make unavailable to a business access or an entitlement to property, facilities, speech forums, including traditional, limited, and nonpublic forums, or charitable fundraising campaigns.
For purposes of this bill, "local government" includes cities, towns, municipalities, counties, metropolitan governments, local education agencies (LEAs), development districts, utility districts, human resource agencies, and other political subdivisions of Tennessee.
AMENDMENT #1 adds that this bill does not limit the authority of the department of economic and community development to award FastTrack grants.

TLRC Position

Favor: While it is not yet a problem in Tennessee, this is pre-emptive due to some states forcing private citizens to undertake projects prohibited by their religious convictions. Religious freedom is guaranteed in the first amendment of the US constitution. The perceive "rights" of minorities are being given precedence over the guaranteed rights of others.
It must be recognized that a person's "rights" may only go as far as to where another person's rights begin. They cannot invade.

TLRC Observed Process

This bill passed the house with only partisan opposition.
Action was deferred in Senate State and Local Government Committee to 2020.

Once again, the senate ignored the peoples' choice and did not consider the value of this legislation.

Vote Result: Failed

Score: +5

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