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Culture Beat / April 14, 2016

Bathroom Wars May Soon Come to Tennessee

Some businesses are warning against following North Carolina’s lead.

The gender disorientation grievance industry is telling the Tennessee legislature not to approve a bill that would relegate transgendered individuals to using bathroom and locker rooms based on their biological makeup at birth. CBS News reports, “The chief executives of Williams-Sonoma, Hilton Worldwide, T-Mobile and dozens of other major corporations have signed a letter asking Tennessee lawmakers to reject a transgender bathroom bill, saying it is discriminatory. On Wednesday, a group of advocates for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people dropped off the letter to the offices of House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, both Republicans. Airbnb, Alcoa and Dow Chemical were also among the 60 companies that said the proposal has no place in Tennessee.”

For now, the bill’s future is unclear. The Tennessee attorney general believes that $1.2 billion in education funding could be cut off because the measure potentially violates federal law. And CBS says “the vice chairman of the finance committee warned that the projected cost of it will likely cause it to be placed among unfunded bills to be considered after the budget has passed. Those bills often don’t become law unless sponsors find a way to eliminate the cost or find a source of funding.”

But if the bill does come up for a vote, there’s an important lesson in resiliency for lawmakers to consider. Recall in North Carolina that some businesses — PayPal most prominent among them — are retaliating against the state for imposing a law similar to what Tennessee is considering. What this all amounts to is a boycott that’s intended to hamstring the state’s finances so Republicans will eventually cave. However, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s newest “Rich States, Poor States” report ranks North Carolina near the top when it comes to business-friendly environments. Columnist Tony Perkins explains:

> By comparing things like income tax rates, property taxes, minimum wage, state and local debt and other factors, conservative states blew away the competition. In case you’re wondering where North Carolina ranks on the list, try #2! The state that’s supposedly “hurting recruitment,” “destroying tourism,” and “alienating business” by giving companies power over their own policies has the second-best economic growth in the entire country! So much for H.B. 2 being “bad for North Carolina, bad for America, and bad for business.”

> Mississippi, where the Left is distorting common sense protections, is #17. Yet Big Business bullies are railing against the bills, wrongly arguing that “this is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.” And here’s the kicker: The majority of states in the Top 20 have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts — the very laws liberals are protesting! North Carolina, Arizona, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Idaho, Mississippi, and Arkansas all having booming economies and protections for faith. Only two in the bottom 10 can say the same: Illinois and Connecticut.“

Back in Tennessee, Ramsey, despite some business opposition to the protective measure, says, "While I understand some in the business community have concerns, I do not share them. Tennessee has low taxes, little debt and one of the best regulatory environments in the nation. Whether this bill passes or doesn’t, Tennessee will continue to be the best state in the union in which to own and operate a business.” He’s absolutely right. As ALEC’s report demonstrates, like-minded, conservative-oriented business leaders will reward you for remaining steadfast. The key is having the audacity to reject the vocal and utterly pugnacious minority.

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