Debate Heats Up Over Metro Non-Discrimination Bill
By Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A proposed non-discrimination bill in Metro Nashville City Council gained some support and some back-lash Friday. The bill would require companies doing business with Metro to add gender identity and sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policies.
The mayor released a statement about the bill that will come up for a vote Tuesday. The mayor said, "if they pass it, I will sign it".
Councilman Jamie Hollin is one of the bill's sponsors and reacted to the Mayor's news release.
"Says it makes sense. That's been his record, he's stated publicly many times. We're happy to have his support," Hollin said.
But as Mayor Dean's support was made public, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to council members outlining its concerns about the proposed legislation.
"We don't think it does provide some of the structure, some of the processes that are important for businesses to be aware of and adhere to," said Debby Dale Mason, the chamber's chief community action officer.
The letter signed by Mason and Chamber president Ralph Schulz, states "the legislation does not reflect a process in which diligent and responsible research has been conducted".
The chamber surveyed nearly 300 of its members and they raised serious concerns about the impact the proposed legislation could have on Nashville businesses.
"The bill is well intended, so lets make sure how cit it be a stronger and better piece of legislation that addresses the needs and questions of businesses," Mason said.
Councilman Hollin said Friday night this type of legislation already has a proven track record in many cities.
"I think it's been researched ad nauseam all across the country. If they had any questions, they could have asked us, we've sat down with them, gave them every opportunity," according to Hollin.
This bill comes up for its second reading during Tuesday's council meeting. Hollin and his co-sponsors feel they have the support needed to pass the bill.