Religious Anti-Discrimination Bill Clears Senate Panel, Too

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would prevent students from being discriminated against for expressing their religious beliefs is headed for floor votes in both chambers of the Legislature.
The measure unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee 9-0 on Wednesday, a day after the companion bill was approved on a voice vote in the same committee in the House.
The legislation would require school districts to develop a so-called “student speaker policy” for school officials to follow.
Democratic Sen. Andy Berke of Chattanooga voted for the bill, but said lawmakers need to be careful putting their stamp of approval on legislation dealing with religion because of legal issues that may arise.
Stephen Smith, assistant commissioner for policy and regulation at the Tennessee Department of Education, says the proposal should be constitutionally defensible as long as a school isn’t deemed to be promoting a particular religion.

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