Senate panel quietly kills latest version of transgender bathroom bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday quietly killed a bill requiring the state attorney general to represent public school systems when they face lawsuits over sex-linked bathroom policies or, if he declines, that the state instead pay the legal fees of private attorneys.

The bill (HB2620) had earlier won approval of a House committee under sponsorship of Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), but the Senate sponsor, Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) could not get a member of the Senate committee to even make the necessary seconding motion and the panel’s chairman, Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) declared it dead without discussion – a marked contrast to extended debate in the House Civil Justice Committee and its subcommittee.

From an AP brief:

LGBT advocates have said the bill was meant to embolden school boards to pass policies that discriminate against transgender students knowing the state would provide for the legal defense if they were sued.

The bill would have provided for the defense of school systems that adopted policies requiring transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms based on their sex at birth. It also would have allowed schools to provide transgender students with other accommodations if they were not comfortable using facilities based on their gender at birth.

The bill was opposed by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration and some legislators worried in the House debate about the measure being a “blank check” for school systems to run up legal bills at state expense. Others said it simply isn’t now needed since President Trump’s administration has rescinded a directive on transgender bathrooms in schools that inspired legislation in previous years.

But Jennifer Hamblin, a member of the Cheatham County school board that has a policy of requiring rest room use by individuals based on the gender recorded on their birth certificates, testified in the House subcommittee that she and colleagues are “terrified” by threats of legal action if the policy is enforced and need the state as “a teammate” if “we stand our ground.”

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