HB1150 is the bill that would punish Vanderbilt University for its inclusive non-discrimination policy by taking away its police force. HB1185 would allow students in counseling, psychology, and social work programs at our public universities to claim a religious exemption from serving certain clients. HB1332 is the new Don't Say Gay bill
HB1150 goes too far by punishing Vanderbilt University, a private entity, by taking away its police force. No matter the sponsor's disagreements with Vanderbilt, it is not appropriate for the government to meddle in its affairs. It is also dangerous to take measures that would reduce safety for patients, staff, students, faculty, and visitors.
HB1185 is a solution in search of a problem. There is no evidence that counseling, psychology, and social work students in Tennessee have been seeking a religious exemption to serving clients. The director of the counseling program at Lipscomb University recently noted in an article in The Tennessean that students should be open to helping a full range of clients and that the bill is a bad idea. We also don't yet know what effect the bill would have on the accreditation of our programs.
HB1332 with the proposed amendment will have a disruptive effect in the relationships of students and school personnel. Students regularly come to coaches, teachers, and administrators with problems and they are the front line in providing comfort and guidance to students during difficult times. Students need these relationships of trust. To require a referral to a licensed professional in these instances could take too much time in the case of immediate need and it could prove costly.
Thank you for your consideration of my perspective on these bills and thank you for your service to Tennessee.