Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler says Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration may be trying to sabotage the transgender bathroom bill and that legislators should retaliate against businesses that support it, according to the Times-Free Press.
In an “action alert” sent to supporters Thursday, Fowler, a former Republican state senator from Signal Mountain, praised House panel members who voted Wednesday night to haul the bill back from a summer study committee.
“Yesterday was a miracle. House Bill 2414 that protects the privacy of students in the bathrooms and locker rooms of our public schools and colleges was dead as a doornail at 3 p.m., yet at 7 p.m. passed by an 8-4 vote of the House Education Administration and Planning Committee!” Fowler wrote to followers.
Fowler warned though that someone on “one of the Finance Committees” told him Haslam’s Department of Economic and Community Development “appears to be working on creating a fiscal note to the effect that protecting our children will cost the state existing businesses [that might move], future expansions or tourism revenue.”
But ECD spokesman Clint Brewer said the agency “is not working on a fiscal note for this bill.” He said the department has “not worked on the bill in any way” and has not contacted the Fiscal Review Committee.
Haslam is worried that if the bill becomes law, Tennessee’s federal education funding could be affected.
…On Wednesday, the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT advocacy group, distributed a letter (Note: Text HERE) from top executives of several major corporations operating in Tennessee, among them Alcoa Inc., which have warned it would hurt recruiting of talented workers and also threatens to harm tourism and business recruitment in the Volunteer State.
In a Thursday posting, Fowler called them all “bullies.” He went on to give some advice and suggested Tennessee Republican leaders, whose party here is built on a coalition of business interests along with social conservatives and others, should engage in some “hardball politics” and threats of their own.
“Republican leadership could call every business that signs a letter threatening the state into their offices and tell them that every bill that their business or industry is interested in for the next year or two is dead on arrival,” Fowler wrote. “Period. End of the debate. You can return to your corporate headquarters now. It’s the conversation every lobbyist dreads if they push legislators too hard.”</em