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Judges halt two new Tennessee laws

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(The Center Square) – Tennessee’s law blocking the automatic withdrawal of professional organization dues for the state’s teachers has been blocked from going into effect Saturday.

A three-judge panel granted a temporary restraining order in the case and set a Zoom hearing for July 13.

The law was challenged by the Tennessee Educators Association saying a portion of the bill violates a single-subject requirement for bills, the details weren’t included in the bill’s caption and doesn’t disclose the bill repeals the Professional Educators Collaborative Conferencing Act, the state’s negotiation law.

The bill also includes a teacher minimum pay increase incrementally from the current $40,000 to $50,000 for the 2026-27 school year by bumping the minimum to $42,000 in the fall, $44,500 the next year and continuing to rise.

The bill was one of two blocked by courts this week after a federal judge blocked enforcement of Senate Bill 1, a law that would prevent minors from receiving medical procedures to identify with an identity different than the minor’s sex. Tennessee’s Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti plans to appeal the ruling.

“I’m extremely disappointed with this ruling on Senate Bill 1,” said Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin. “I have complete faith that the legislation we passed is constitutional. I appreciate Attorney General Skrmetti’s commitment to vigorously appeal this decision – all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

“This is a critical part of our efforts to protect Tennessee children, and we are going to continue to fight to protect these kids from permanent, irreversible mutilation of their bodies.”

The lawsuit against that bill was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Tennessee, Lambda Legal, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

“[The] ruling acknowledges the dangerous implications of this law and protects the freedom to access vital, life-saving healthcare for trans youth and their families while our challenge proceeds,” said Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, ACLU of Tennessee staff attorney. “This law is an intrusion upon the rights and lives of Tennessee families and threatens the futures of trans youth across the state.”

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