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‘Bathroom’ bill advances, Bible bill awaits signature

Last week, Tennessee lawmakers debated on a controversial legislation that would require students to use the restrooms that match their sex at birth.

Legislation similar to this failed to pass the House of Representatives last summer.

The Senate will have the opportunity to discuss this type of legislation on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12 and 13.

As it turns out, there are several other states who are drafting and passing similar legislation.

Pat McCrory, the Governor of North Carolina, signed a bill requiring students to use restrooms that match their birth sex on March 23.

As a result, the North Carolina government is now facing a discrimination lawsuit.

If this suit is successful, it could set a precedent for citizens to be able to successfully sue the government if lawmakers were to pass a similar bill.

As of now, the only official bill that has been drafted failed last summer, but committee members asked for the opportunity to have the bill reconsidered the day after the vote.

If passed, this legislation would affect colleges and universities across the state.

Senior communication major Eleyce Harrington said this type of bill wouldn’t work, particularly for people who have had gender reassignment surgeries.

“I get what they are trying to do, but what about the people who have already had a sex change?” Harrington said. “Like they were born a girl but now they look like a dude. What would that look like?”

It is unclear at this time if the legislation proposed contained any contingencies for students in this situation.

It is also unclear if any future legislation would address this situation.

The bill to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee is now awaiting approval from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed the bill with a 19-8 vote.

According to the Tennessean, Attorney General Herbert Slatery and Haslam share concerns about whether or not the Bible being the state book is constitutionally appropriate.

Another APSU student who wished to not be named shares Haslam and Slatery’s sentiments.

“We’re supposed to have a separation between church and state,” the student said. “Making the official book of a particular religion, even the popular religion of the state, isn’t really separation, but there are more important things to worry about.”

Sen. Steve Southerland, the author of the bill, said making the Bible the state book is based on its historical and cultural impact.

“The Bible is a history book,” Southerland said in defense of his legislation.

Southerland has found support from fellow lawmaker Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield.

“The very founding of our nation – the very form of government that we have today – was put forth by men of faith, based on their faith, based on what they read in Holy Scripture,” Roberts said in support of Southerland’s legislation.

Nashville Democrat Sen. Jeff Yarbro opposes the bill.

“When lawmakers are sworn into office, they place their hand on a Bible while making an oath to uphold the state and federal constitutions,” Yarbro said. “I understand that it’s hard to vote against the Bible- no one wants to do that. We have to follow the Constitution.”

At this time it is unclear whether Gov. Haslam will sign or veto the bill.

According to the Associated Press, in his five years of office, Haslam has only vetoed three bills.

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