• The bill sought to block transgender students from using certain bathrooms.
• Tennessee's GOP governor opposed the measure.
A controversial Tennessee bill that discriminated against transgender students died in the state legislature Tuesday.
The legislation would have required students to only use school restrooms that corresponded with the gender they were assigned at birth. Lawmakers on the House Education Administration and Planning Committee sent the bill for further study, effectively killing it this year, according to a press release from the LGBT advocacy group Freedom for All Americans.
Gov. Bill Haslam (R) had expressed concern that the bill could jeopardize the state's federal funding, and opponents argued that the legislation was unnecessary and would harm transgender students.
“Today’s decision by Tennessee lawmakers is a victory for the dignity and equal treatment of all children in the state,” said Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans. “House Bill 2414 would have endangered the personal safety of all children, particularly transgender youth; and codified discrimination in public schools."
Transgender students who testified before the committee believed that their experiences had swayed lawmakers' votes, The Associated Press reported.
Currently, Tennessee schools can make accommodations for transgender students at their discretion, and some lawmakers were concerned the legislation would only lead to more confusion, according to the AP.
State Rep. Mark White (R), who initially supported the legislation, said he changed his position after talking with a transgender high school student and determining the bill was unnecessary, The Tennessean reported. The student had previously testified that he could only use the teachers' restroom at his school and he often returned home dehydrated and with stomach aches.
A number of similar bills to restrict which bathroom transgender students use have been popping up in states across the country. Earlier this month, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) vetoed legislation that would have made his state the first to impose such restrictions.