Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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©2017 Mark Norris
May 23, 2016
Norris statement on President Obama’s transgender “guidance letter”
On May 13, the US Department of Education released a guidance letter describing that it would begin enforcing Title IX discrimination policies to require Tennessee schools to allow transgendered students to use the restroom or locker room of their “gender identity” rather than the one that corresponds with their anatomy.
In response Senator Norris gave the following statement:
“I consider the ‘guidance letter’ to be of neither legal force nor effect. A letter is not the law. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has issued the letter as though it were law.
Governor Haslam issued a statement which is a good first step. He states that the guidance letter “does not make any additional requirements under the law” and, although it is “not an enforcement action,” the Governor finds it “heavy-handed.”
The problem is this: if nothing has changed, why did Obama do it? The air needs to be cleared now that this unprecedented guidance has been issued.
It is important for us, as a state, to make it clear that we will not acquiesce in the guidance per se but will, instead, continue to administer our schools in the same non-discriminatory manner as we always have.
We want to make sure that nothing will be done to give this ‘guidance’ any effect. I met with the Attorney General in Nashville this week, and I am confident that it will not.
Norris Refugee Resettlement Resolution Authorized by Haslam
On Friday Governor Haslam reluctantly allowed SJR 467 for the commencement of legal action to force the federal government to comply with the Refugee Act of 1980.
In his statement Governor Haslam said, “I trust the Attorney General to determine whether the state has a claim in this case or in any other, and I have constitutional concerns about one branch of government telling another what to do. I am returning SJR 467 without my signature and am requesting that the Attorney General clarify whether the legislative branch actually has the authority to hire outside counsel to represent the state.”
In response, Senator Norris said, “I am relieved he did not attempt to block us, but we are concerned at the apparent lack of urgency. Recent outbreaks of disease, like measles in Memphis, may be traceable to refugees relocated in our community and elsewhere without adequate vetting. This needs to stop now. The Attorney General needs to do his job or we will find someone else who will.”
National Police Week
Senator Norris was honored to keynote the annual Tipton County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service on Wednesday May 18.
“We have work to do. It begins anew. Recognizing, as we do here today, those who’ve given their lives that we may live in peace, safety and happiness. And those who give life every day to the cause and commitment to keep Tennessee safe.”