Home Business Lawmaker Says Business Owners May Be Jailed For Violating Transgender Toilet Law

Lawmaker Says Business Owners May Be Jailed For Violating Transgender Toilet Law

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MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – Can business owners who refuse to comply with Tennessee’s controversial transgender toilet law be fined or jailed?

The spokesman for the state that sponsored the law says it’s possible.

The Bathrooms Act, which takes effect July 1, is one of several laws that the Tennessee General Assembly passed this year for the transgender community.

“It made Tennessee a model of discrimination,” said Marissa Richmond, a Tennessee transgender activist and chair of the Metro Public Affairs Commission in Nashville. “We have become known as a state of hatred, and for good reason.”

The Bathroom Law requires companies to place warning signs near public toilets if the business allows transgender people to use the bathroom that is related to their gender.

Signs must have a red background with the words “NOTICE” at the top. Signs must read in capital letters: THIS FACILITY SUPPORTS A POLICY THAT IS PERMITTED TO USE RESTAURANTS OR BIOLOGICAL SEX, REGARDLESS OF DESIGNATION ON PARAMETERS.

“It makes transgender people feel anger, fear and humiliation,” Richmond said.

The bill, which Gov. Bill Lee signed into law last month, makes no mention of fines or how the law will be applied.

Bill Sponsor, State Rep. Tim Rudd, R. Murfreesboro, told Chattanooga Times Free Press that business owners who refuse to comply may be prosecuted.

Those fines will include serving six months in jail or fines up to $ 500.

Rudd says this is because the law was placed under a section of the Tennessee Code that deals with building safety.

Rudd did not respond to a message that WMC Action News 5 left for him on Wednesday.

In March, he explained to his fellow legislators why he is sponsoring the bill.

“It’s very shocking and dangerous for people if they go to the toilet and there are men or women and the opposite sex is there,” says Rudd. “It could have scared them. It could have provoked violence. “

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, who is also president of the Tennessee General Conference of District Attorneys, filed a statement with WMC Action News 5 about the matter.

“This law appears in the part of the building safety code,” Weirich said. “Most of these issues are handled by fire chiefs and construction inspectors. Processes in many areas include reviews and re-checks and appeals to various councils or administrative bodies. We will continue to explore the nuances of this public chapter and note that the effective date is July 1st, in a few weeks. “

Kevin Walters, a spokesman for the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office, said they are also “reviewing legislation to determine proper implementation.”

Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk says his office will not enforce the law, the Associated Press reported.

Funk says his office “will not incite hatred.”

Richmond doubts the larger Tennessee cities will enforce the law, but says some rural communities may try to do so.

“People will try to decide if a person can be trans or not, so there are many people who will be persecuted,” Richmond said.

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