Metro Nashville Council approved a late -filed resolution asking the Tennessee General Assembly to block a bill aimed at keeping LEAs and charter schools from distributing textbooks or other materials to children that include the promotion of the LGBT lifestyle at its March 15 meeting.
The resolution was sponsored by councilmembers Brett Withers, Nancy VanReece, Russ Bradford and Emily Benedict and urged “the Tennessee General Assembly to reject HB0800/SB1216 seeking to prohibit LEAs from utilizing textbooks or instructional materials addressing LGBT issues or lifestyles.”
Councilmember Withers, in his comments on the resolution, disparagingly referred to the law that just passed in Florida which is often referred to by the activist Left as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. He characterized the General Assembly legislation as “very bad legislation” that harms young people in every school system just because of what it says. Withers said these issues are important to discuss with children. Councilmember VanReece, openly gay herself, said of the resolution, “This will save lives.”
The resolution passed by voice vote, with all voting in favor added as sponsors to the resolution. No Metro Councilmember requested to be listed as voting no.
SB1216 and HB0800 are sponsored in the Tennessee General Assembly by State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) and State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), respectively. The bill reads in part:
Notwithstanding § 49-6-2201(h)(9)(B), the commission shall not recommend or list, the state board shall not approve for local adoption or grant a waiver pursuant to § 49-6-2206, and LEAs and public charter schools shall not locally adopt or use in the public schools of this state, textbooks and instructional materials or supplemental instructional materials that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles.
The measure also states it will hold the promotion of LGBT issues and lifestyles to the same limitations that are placed on the teaching of religion in public schools.
The State Senate version is currently scheduled to be considered by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. The House version was approved by the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee and is waiting on the Calendar and Rules Committee to schedule a floor vote.
The Metro Nashville Council also approved a resolution accepting a family planning grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and another distributing more than $1 million to local nonprofits. Both resolutions were passed as part of the consent agenda.
RS2022-1430 is a “resolution accepting a grant from the State of Tennessee, Department of Health, to the Metropolitan Government, acting by and through the Metropolitan Board of Health, for family planning services.” The grant is for $5,325,500.00, and the federal taxpayer funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A proviso is that the funds are not allowed to be used for abortion or related services.
RS2022-1423 proposed to appropriate $1,740,000 through the Office of Family Safety to various nonprofit groups that are selected to receive American Recovery Plan Act funds. Mayor John Cooper’s office previously expressed their approval of this distribution.
Family & Children’s Services will receive $500,000 “for the provision of therapeutic services for adults and children impacted by interpersonal violence.” The Nashville Children’s Alliance will get $450,000 “for the provision of therapeutic services for adults and children impacted by interpersonal violence.”
The Sexual Assault Center will be provided with $400,000 “for the provision of therapeutic services for adults and children impacted by interpersonal violence.” The Mary Parrish Center receives $120,000 “for the provision of therapeutic services for adults and children impacted by interpersonal violence.” Lastly, AGAPE is slated to receive $270,000 “for the provision of therapeutic services for adults and children impacted by interpersonal violence and to assist petitioners with Orders of Protection at the Family Safety Center.” The resolution authorizes Metro Nashville government to enter into contracts with these groups.
Several organizations and individuals also spoke during a pre-budget public hearing. A representative from the progressive Nashville People’s Budget Coalition complained that, in his view, the public comment process for the budget is undemocratic. He also called for defunding the police. Black Lives Matter Nashville, Middle Tennessee Democratic Socialists of America, Workers’ Dignity, and the No Exceptions Prison Collective are among the groups that are part of the coalition. Members of some of those groups are reportedly affiliated with Antifa.
The Council held the hearing open for public comment for two hours.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected] Follow Aaron on GETTR.
Photo “Frank Niceley” by Tennessee General Assembly and photo “Bruce Griffey” by Tennessee General Assembly.