Tennessee House OKs new transgender ‘bathroom bill’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee House lawmakers on Monday passed a bill that would put public schools and districts at risk of civil lawsuits if they let transgender students or employees use multi-person bathrooms or locker rooms that don’t reflect their gender at birth.

The proposal must now pass the Senate before it can head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk, with senators expected to vote on the proposal later this week. The bill is one of several LGTBQ-related measures that the GOP-controlled General Assembly have introduced this year that critics have slammed as discriminatory. Most notably, Lee, a Republican, signed a different proposal this year that bars transgender athletes from playing girls’ public high school or middle school sports.

Under the proposed measure — which passed 65-24 on Monday — a student or employee could sue in an effort to claim monetary damages “for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” if school officials allow a transgender person into the bathroom or locker room when others are in there, or if they require staying in the same sleeping quarters as a member of the opposite sex at birth, unless that person is a family member.

The proposal also says schools must try to offer a bathroom or changing facility that is single-occupancy or that is for employees if a student or employee “desires greater privacy when using a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility designated for the person’s sex” at birth.

Opponents of the bill, including business entities, point to North Carolina’s experience with the enactment of its 2016 version of a “bathroom bill,” which was signed by former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and in part required transgender people to use public bathrooms aligned with the gender on their birth certificate.

Several large corporations and sports leagues relocated events to other states or reconsidered expanding in North Carolina due to the law, which was partially repealed in 2017.

A federal judge eventually approved a consent decree in 2019 between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and transgender plaintiffs that affirms their right to use restrooms matching their gender identity in many public buildings.

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White House OKs FDA asking for 2 months monitoring, likely delaying vaccine authorization past Election Day

The White House denied reports it had tried to block the new FDA guidance.

A spokesperson for the White House budget office denied those reports and said the approved guidance was never blocked and went through the normal review process.

Trump lashed out at the news on Twitter Tuesday night, writing, “New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!” He also tagged FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn in the tweet.

In September, Trump had said that the White House might not approve the new guidance, given what it could mean in terms of timing. “We may or may not approve it,” he told reporters, suggesting the FDA was reacting to questions about White House pressure to act faster, saying it “was a political move more than anything else.”

The guidance was posted on the agency’s website on Tuesday and as part of a packet of background material posted ahead of the vaccine advisory board’s scheduled meeting on COVID vaccine candidates on Oct. 22.

The FDA is laying out criteria for an emergency authorization of a vaccine candidate, not a full approval, and has repeatedly sought to encourage the public it will make decisions based only on the science and data from clinical trials regardless of political pressure.

FDA officials have said they expect an emergency authorization to target specific populations at higher risk for the virus — including health care workers or older populations living in group settings — and that a vaccine would not be widely available outside those groups until into next year.

Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said it takes about a month and a half for some side effects or problems to present themselves.

“Most of the adverse events that you’re talking

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