Mar 3, 2023 - News

Tennessee bills targeting LGBTQ+ advance

Illustration of the Tennessee State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Tennessee lawmakers continued to advance legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community this week, among other actions.

  • Here are some of the biggest developments.

A bill that would restrict some drag performances in Tennessee secured final approval from lawmakers.

A measure that would define "sex" in state law as the gender assigned at birth advanced through early committees. The Associated Press reports the bill would block transgender people from changing their driver's licenses and birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.

  • Legislative officials say enacting the bill could "jeopardize federal funding," including more than $1.2 billion in education dollars.

A Republican-backed effort to add rape and incest exceptions to Tennessee's strict abortion ban stalled.

  • The Tennessean reported the sponsor could not secure enough support to get it through a committee. A bill to add an exception for life-threatening circumstances is still pending.
  • The state attorney general has told top lawmakers that adding exceptions would make Tennessee's ban easier to defend in court.

A medical cannabis bill failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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