TENNESSEE: “License To Discriminate” Bill Advances, Would Protect Anti-LGBT Businesses From Punishment

The Tennessean reports:

A bill opposed by LGBTQ advocates that would prevent state or local government entities in Tennessee from discriminating against a business based on the company’s internal policies has advanced in the House. House Bill 563, sponsored by Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville [photo], passed in the House on a 68-22 vote.

The legislation seeks to prohibit the state or local governments from taking “discriminatory action” against a business, including altering the tax treatment or withholding contracts from a company, based on their policies about discrimination, health insurance, family leave or minimum wage.

In a statement Thursday, the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group, condemned the House’s passage of the bill, which the organization refers to as a “Business License to Discriminate.”

Zachary ran a failed bid for the US House in 2014, losing the GOP primary by 20 points. His 2016 campaign for the Tennessee House was based, in part, on his opposition to LGBT rights.