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Defending Local Nondiscrimination Laws, Nashville And Beyond

Defending Local Nondiscrimination Laws, Nashville and Beyond

A Better Balance was excited to speak on a panel last week hosted by the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), where staff attorney Dilini Lankachandra, along with Metro Council Member Dave Rosenberg and TEP’s Chris Sanders spoke about the increase in aggressive state interference—or “preemption”—in local policymaking in Tennessee and across the country.

Tennessee has been at the center of a number of recent preemption conflicts in recent years, from the state’s 2011 law that prohibited cities from enacting nondiscrimination policies more protective than the state’s law (the first of its kind in the country, which was passed to invalidate Nashville’s LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance) to a bill passed this year that will withhold state funding for cities with certain “sanctuary city” policies. A Better Balance has been involved in these issues and more, working with other local advocates across movements to defend the power of cities to create policies that reflect the views and values of their own communities.

This event was the first of a series of panels TEP will be hosting across the state to educate voters and policymakers about the impact of preemption throughout Tennessee. As part of that project, TEP is trying to understand how the state’s prohibition on local nondiscrimination ordinances has affected Tennesseans: if you have a story about how you could have benefitted from a local nondiscrimination law, you can share it with TEP using this confidential form.

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