Excerpt from a Tennessean update on efforts to call a special legislative session on transgender bathrooms:
As of Monday afternoon, 57 House Republicans have agreed with the call for a special session, nine have said no and six are undecided, according to Cade Cothren, a caucus spokesman. In the House, Republicans will likely need Democratic support to call the special session.
The Tennessee Constitution stipulates that it takes two-thirds of both chambers — 66 signatures in the House and 22 in the Senate — for lawmakers to call themselves back for a special session.
Despite the push from Republicans, Haslam, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, have questioned the need for a special session. Although the Senate has not formally started a similar signature gathering effort, they are expected to do so in the event that the House reaches the required number.
The article includes comments from emails Republican representatives have sent on the matter. Rep. Susan Lynn, who sponsored a transgender bathroom bill that failed during regular session, suggests a special session might be premature. She said that the federal directive was nothing more than “bait” and an attempt to “jerk us around.” Lynn sponsored — and later withdrew — legislation this year requiring students to use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.
“They want us to be drawn in,” she wrote to her colleagues. “All we have to do is ride out the clock. Next year we will have President Trump and he will not pursue us over this nor will his DOE (Department of Education) nor justice department make the same assessment.”
In the event that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton wins in November, Lynn said “we should be all up in it all the time — we can be her worst nightmare but right now we have one chance left — let’s elect our candidate.”
…Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, who said his email has been “lighting up” with concerned constituents — all of whom opposed the federal directive — warned that while it may be true that the issue is intended to be an “election-year ‘distraction’ by the Obama administration” there has been little indication that Gov. Bill Haslam will take a stronger stand and issue an executive order opposing the directive.
“The impact on Tennessee elections will be mostly in the primaries, as the Democrats will stay as far from this as they can,” Ragan added.
Ragan expressed skepticism that the attorney general would take “independent action” on the matter.
“Our actions in this situation must have a ‘strategic’ view as well as a ‘tactical’ one,” Ragan wrote.