After ‘Bathroom Bill’ Defeat, Tennessee Lawmakers Lash Out At Businesses That Opposed It | Nashville Public Radio

After ‘Bathroom Bill’ Defeat, Tennessee Lawmakers Lash Out At Businesses That Opposed It

Apr 19, 2016

One day after the so-called "bathroom bill" was withdrawn, Tennessee Republicans took aim at business leaders for getting involved in the issue.

Lawmakers warned corporate incentives could be taken away if businesses continue to intervene in legislative matters.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick led an angry attack Tuesday on the business community, particularly the Chamber of Commerce in his home city, Chattanooga.

"I got a letter from the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce," McCormick said at the opening of Tuesday's legislative session. "It was a long, self-righteous letter but it said at the end, 'Simply put, the legislation is bad for business, bad for Chattanooga and Hamilton County and bad for Tennessee.' So now that they're on the record for putting men in little girls' bathrooms, I want to say what else has happened in Chattanooga in the last few weeks.

McCormick went on to describe street gangs running rampant, a problem which he says the business community has done little to address.

The speech sparked several minutes of debate, even though the legislation itself has been dead since its sponsor, Mt. Juliet Republican Susan Lynn, announced Monday that she would no longer pursue it this year.

And McCormick wasn't the only Chattanooga Republican to take shots at the Chamber. Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson picked up the theme hours later, making a very similar speech.

Both leaders said lawmakers should remember who signed the letter when businesses ask for corporate incentives.

A warning, it would seem, to stay out of future debates.