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Library Research Notes #48
The Mess in Tennessee
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I hope you are having a wonderful February and that your weather is on the upswing, whatever that might mean for you. In Middle Tennessee, that means that we are moving out of the second round of tornado season, so soon when it thunderstorms, the anxiety of a potential twister will fade until late summer.
This time, we are going to take a look at what has been happening, on the political front, here in Tennessee over the past few weeks. The republicans in the legislature have a super majority and you would think that would mean bills to make ‘small government’, but in a strange twist - they are trying to expand the reach of government into the homes, schools, and workplaces of all Tennesseans. Especially those Tennesseans that they do not feel should exist. That’s right - I said it - they want LGBTQ+ people to disappear and the bills they are writing are clearly demonstrating that fact. Of course, they will say that isn’t the case, but that is what gaslighters do. So let’s dive into it.
Thank you for reading and if you want to suggest future topics or give your opinions, please comment by clicking the link below. I look forward to a lively conversation.
Tennessee is a mess
To be fair, the Tennessee LEGISLATURE is a mess. There are a few good state senators and congresspeople, but overall, the legislature is basically forwarding a slate of hate like no other. It seems like the republicans in control of the state congress really want to make Tennessee one of the worst places to live (and visit) in the United States. And that is truly saying something, when we consider how messed up Florida and Mississippi are.
Last week though - they actually passed two bills, which are now with the governor to inevitably sign into law, that would ban drag shows (HB9/SB3) and ban youth gender-affirming care (HB1/SB1). There is still hope that as constituents we can flood Governor Lee’s office with calls to not sign these into law, but it looks like the more likely path will be for the Tennessee arm of the ACLU to sue the state.
And that isn’t all that the republicans in the legislature have in store. They could be working on things like infrastructure project funding, reforming the DCS to help keep kids safe, healthcare for Tennesseans, etc., but instead - they have made it their mission to erase anyone that is not a straight, white, cis, affluent, christofascist, dude.
They don’t care that pregnant people could die in childbirth.
They don’t care that trans people could be harassed, beaten, and killed.
They don’t care that children are sleeping on the floor at DCS because there are too many kids and not enough foster homes.
All they care about is making Tennessee reflect their worldview. Making sure that when they walk down the street, they don’t have to be bothered seeing anyone that doesn’t reflect what they believe America to be. They don’t care about protecting all the citizens of this state. They never have and never will.
Here is what is coming up this week:
3:00 pm Senate Judiciary Committee SHR1
3:00 pm House Population Health Subcommittee HHR2 (one of these caption bills is a "codify Roe" amendment and the other is an exceptions amendment.
3:00 pm House Finance, Ways, Means Committee HHR1
Drag Restrictions (HB30/SB841)
10:30am House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee HHR3
TennCare Restrictions for Trans Care (HB1215/SB1339)
12:00 pm House Civil Justice Committee HHR1
1:30pm House Education Administration HHR1
3:00 pm Senate Education Committee SHR1
Education Material Privacy Protection (HB1040/SB1078)
3:30pm House Health Committee HHR1
Exception for Medical Emergency (HB883/SB745)
As these bills make their way through committees, progressive people in this state will be writing emails, calling legislators offfices, and showing up to make our voices heard. We will not sit idly by and let the republicans craft a community in Tennessee that is disrespectful of any group or individual.
We will fight for the rights of pregnant people to get the care they need.
We will fight for the rights of those who are pregnant, and wish not to be, to have an abortion.
We will fight for the rights of trans people to safely walk down the street without harassment and harm.
We will fight for the rights of black people to be able to travel from point a to point b without harassment and harm.
We will fight for the rights of children to read the books they want and need, to have safe homes and three balanced meals a day, and to get the healthcare they deserve.
We will fight for the rights of disabled people to have accessible spaces and opportunities.
We will fight for the rights of elderly people to be treated with respect and dignity and have the care they need as they continue to grow old.
We will fight for the rights of people with chronic illnesses to get the coverage and care they need without high copays and added costs.
We will fight for the rights of all Tennesseans to be happy, healthy, and free.
This is what true progressives do. We stand up for what is right and dispel myths from the mouths of conservatives. We move forward together, as a community, and we include every single person in this fight. After all, as Fannie Lou Hamer duly noted:
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
If you are in Tennessee and want to get involved, here are links to organizations that are doing work on the hill this week and going forward:
And if you are not in Tennessee, but want to lend support, click on the links below:
For daily coverage of trans legislation nationwide:
For daily coverage of the fight for reproductive justice nationwide:
Good news from the stacks
You made it and so you shall be rewarded with some good librarian news links!
Book bans internalize ‘shame’ for young LGBTQ+ people, advocates say. Here’s how they’re pushing back by Orion Rummler for 19thnews.org
The Work of Women of Color Academic Librarians in Higher Education: Perspectives on Emotional and Invisible Labor by Tamara Rhodes, Naomi Bishop, Alanna Aiko Moore for uproot.space
A Love Letter to Libraries, Long Overdue by Elisabeth Egan and Erica Ackerberg for nytimes.com
American Library Association Rainbow Round Table announces Top 10 Book List on ala.org
The Busload of Books Tour just hit Tennessee this week - check them out here: busloadofbooks.com