Casada shelves push for special bathroom session; Haslam vows to help sued systems

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada is putting his push for a special legisslative session on transgender bathrooms on hold, reports WPLN. He says it looks like there’s no longer a need for lawmakers to weigh in.

Casada started the petition to hold a special meeting. He did it after the Obama administration told school districts they’d be running afoul of federal anti-discrimination rules if they don’t let transgender students use the facilities of their gender identity.

Casada worries Tennessee districts will be sued, and he wanted to compel the state’s attorney general, Herbert Slatery, to defend them.

But now Slatery has told Republican leaders he’ll take the case, which is good enough for Casada. He says the only reason to hold a special session was to protect Tennessee school districts from a directive he sees as unconstitutional.

That’s being met in Sumner County, Casada says, and “it’s safe to assume that if you’re helping one county, you would help others that got sued.”

Special sessions are usually called by Tennessee governors, often to deal with major legislation. But state lawmakers have managed to do it only twice — in 1971 to give 18 year olds the right to vote and in 1982 to meet at the World’s Fair in Knoxville.

…Casada says the petition won’t be thrown out. He plans to keep it on file, just in case interest in the session bubbles up again.

Gov. Bill Haslam, who has been decidedly cool on a special bathroom session, tells WKRN that he stands ready to fully support any local school system that gets into legal troubles over transgender restroom policies:

“If they get sued I think that we the state will jump in to help those local school boards, because it should be their decision,” he told News 2 after a stop at the American Legion Boys State in Cookeville.

Casada said Slatery’s office indicated to Lt. Governor Ramsey that it would defend Sumner County Schools against an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) complaint filed last week for lack of a transgender bathroom/locker room policy.

“I really applaud the attorney general for stepping up and defending Sumner County and it’s given a lot of members comfort,” Rep. Casada told News 2. “We would love to see the attorney general say I am going to defend any school over this unconstitutional DOJ directive.”

The governor believes that would happen for any school district facing legal challenges over transgender student polices.

“My full intention would be for the state to help them in every way that we can if they are sued,” added the governor.