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Tennessee bathroom law sponsors now say it has penalties


Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee’s new law requires sponsors to post signs to businesses and government facilities if they allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice, now owners and officials say those who refuse will receive six Can be jailed for up to months – a fine not mentioned during legislative hearings and debates.

The question of who will do the enforcement remains questionable.

Republican Representative Tim Rudd, who sponsored the bathroom sign bill, said a class B misdemeanor could apply to those who would not post signs within 30 days of being warned that they were breaking the law. Rudd seems to have contradicted what he said to fellow MPs in March. He then stated that the bill version that would become law “provides no penalty or penalty at this point.”

He has since argued that he was telling the truth because the bill itself was silent about any penalties, putting it in a chapter of the current Building Code law that already punishes many violations. The law broadly defines such violations as class B misdemeanors for not complying with such things as smoke alarm requirements and air conditioning regulations. Such offenses are punishable by jail time and a maximum fine of $ 500. The Chattanooga Times Free Press first reported criminal penalties.

The Tennessee law, in favor of almost all Republicans in both houses and nearly all of the Democrats, opposed it, was signed on May 17 by Gov. Bill Lee. It is one of this year’s five new state laws that have drawn backlash from LGBTQ advocates, including the Human Rights Campaign, which described the signing order as discriminatory and “offensive and abusive”. The American Civil Liberties Union is recruiting businesses as potential litigants in a potential lawsuit. Requirements begin July 1.

This week, Rudd said he intended the legislation to award criminal penalties and only “answered the question asked of him” during a committee meeting in March. When the AP asked him about enforcement and penalties earlier this month, Rudd did not refer to the criminal penalties, stating that district attorneys could ask a judge to force compliance and that the judge “whatever Judicial remedies courts may seek “if deemed appropriate, post a business signal, or people may file civil lawsuits.”

At the March committee meeting, Rudd also said that “no state department will oversee it at this time because there is no penalty” and said that it would be possible “if someone could allege, it would be up to a sheriff and a D.A. Will. Searing. “

“So all the questions I had – ‘Does your bill provide any penalty?’ – Well, no, it’s already in the code. I wasn’t asked that question, “Rudd told the Associated Press.

Democratic rape. Bill Beck, who asked Rudd if punishment would exist, said he misled his fellow MPs.

Beck, who opposed the bill, told the AP, “It was a misleading statement for the entire, full state committee, some 20 delegates.” “Very discouraged to pass legislation with misleading answers.”

The penalty of misdemeanors was only noted in the bill’s financial analysis from March which found that “there would not be a substantial number of Class B misdemeanor prosecutions” for governments to experience a significant financial impact.

The law requires that wherever transgender people are not prevented from using multi-person bathrooms, locker rooms, or changing rooms of their choice, the following signs are posted: “This feature allows the use of toilets by biological sex Maintains the policy of permitting, regardless of the designation on the restroom. “

Rudd has refuted arguments that the law is discriminatory, noting that limits on bathroom access are not required.

“It really protects the transgender community because at least if it’s at the door when you go in and it’s business policy then at least you know what to expect,” Rudd said.

How the bathroom law will be enforced remains uncertain. Authorized promoters of the building code included “all state officials, now having jurisdiction or as directed by the governor,” state fire marshals, local fire prevention or building officers, chiefs of fire departments, some mayors, and county officials.

State District Attorney General Conference President Amy Verich said last week that the group was neutral on the bill because it “talks about nothing to do with enforcement” and had nothing to do with district attorneys. In a follow-up Wednesday, it noted the location of the requirement within the Building Safety Code.

“Most of those cases are handled by fire marshals and building inspectors,” Shelby County District Attorney Verich said in a statement. “Procedures in many areas include review and re-inspection and appeals to various boards or administrative agencies. We will continue to look into the nuances of this public chapter and note that the effective date is July 1, several weeks in the future.”

The state attorney general’s office says it does not appear that it has enforcement authority. A spokesman for the governor’s office and the department, including the fire marshal’s office, did not immediately provide any clarification after requesting comment.

Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said his office “will not promote hate” and will not enforce the law.

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