House members voted 73-24 in favor of the Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act, which bars any city or county in the state from implementing anti-discrimination rules that go beyond the protections laid out by the state government.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin), said the act is needed to ensure businesses face uniform rules when they bid on government contracts.
Representatives from Nashville and Memphis argued against the measure, saying cities have a right to create their own work environments, without being told what to do by the state.
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On April 5, the Nashville Metro Council approved new rules to require firms doing business with the city not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and to sign affidavits to that effect.
The bill, which would nullify the Nashville ordinance, must still pass the state Senate and be signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam before taking effect.