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How We Fared: The 2015 Legislative Session

After a challenging legislative session, we wanted to share the rundown of our wins, losses, and where we need to keep up momentum:

The Bible – Legislation that would have made the Bible the official state book of Tennessee passed the House, but we worked with a bipartisan group of senators to successfully send it back to Senate committee. Thank the senators and representatives who stood up for religious freedom.
Counseling Discrimination – Working with our partners, we stopped a bill that would have allowed students in counseling programs to use religion to discriminate against potential clients.
Racial Profiling Prevention Act – We successfully supported legislation ensuring that all Tennessee law enforcement agencies have a policy in place prohibiting racial profiling.
Forced Ultrasounds – Thanks to you, legislation that would have forced a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and see it or hear a description of it never got out of committee.
Criminalization of Mothers with Addiction – This legislation would have expanded the Pregnancy Criminalization Act, passed last year, which singles out pregnant women with addiction and threatens them with incarceration. Working with our allies, we successfully lobbied against the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it failed.
Tuition Equity – We supported legislation that would have enabled graduates of Tennessee high schools who are lawfully present through DACA to pay in-state tuition rates. It passed the Senate and was just one vote short in the House. Thank the legislators who voted for fair treatment of immigrants. We’ll back next year to win tuition equity!
Police Body Cameras – Legislation that would require body cameras for law enforcement officers was deferred for summer study. We will continue to work with the sponsors to pursue this legislation next year.
Policing for Profit – Tennessee’s current, broad civil forfeiture laws encourage “policing for profit.” Several measures that would have provided protection to property owners were deferred until next year. We will continue to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to pass these bills.
Abortion Restrictions – Legislation that requires doctors to share biased information with a woman, imposes a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion, and places burdensome building requirements on abortion clinics passed overwhelmingly in both chambers. Thank the courageous legislators who stood up for women’s health and privacy.

ACLU-TN will be back at the legislature next year, lobbying for fairness and equality. Thank you for joining with us to defend our freedoms.


May 19, 2015: Williamson County School Board Agrees to End Retaliation; Educators No Longer Threatened for Free Speech

April 24, 2015: ACLU-TN Wins Parents’ Right to Name Child

April 23, 2015: ACLU-TN Defends Williamson County Educators Against School Board Retaliation; School Staff Harassed For Exercising Free Speech Rights

March 17, 2015: ACLU-TN Protects Student from Choosing Between Faith and Tennessee Promise Scholarship


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