The Tennessee state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than protections laid out by the state government.
Senators passed the Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act after a short debate in which supporters argued that the bill was needed to keep discrimination rules the same in communities throughout Tennessee.
“When it comes to anti-discrimination practices, we need to be have consistent rules across the state,” said state Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin).
Under Tennessee state law it is illegal to discriminate against a person because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.
On April 5, the Nashville Metro Council adopted new rules that would also prohibit firms doing business with the city from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
If signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam (R), the bill, approved in the state House on April 25, would nullify the Nashville ordinance.