The second year of the 113th Tennessee General Assembly began on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. 

Thursday, April 25, 2024 marked the end of the 2024 Legislative Session and the 113th Tennessee General Assembly.

Throughout this legislative session, we witnessed Tennessee legislators discriminatorily and often unconstitutionally introduce bills that target immigrants, low-income families, the LGBTQ+ community, Black and Brown folks, and other marginalized communities to fuel divisions for their own political gain.

Despite the many challenges faced during this legislative session, we're proud to celebrate several wins that demonstrate our commitment to fighting to protect and advance civil liberties and civil rights for all Tennesseans. 

1. What initiatives are we pursuing at the 2024 legislative session?

A.What initiatives are we pursuing at the 2024 legislative session?

  • Build and defend an inclusive and accessible democracy to prevent legislative efforts that silence and take power from LGBTQ+ communities, people of color, and other vulnerable communities, 
  • Urge legislators to protect and expand access to the ballot box in Tennessee
  • Protect the guarantees of the First Amendment, and the opportunity for all Tennesseans to read, dissent, publish, protest, and express themselves freely, without fear of government suppression and censorship, 
  • Fight for reproductive justice and defend against any new abortion restrictions 
  • Advocate for trans and gender non-conforming people to have the ability and right to exercise self-determination and bodily autonomy without government oppression.  

We are also ready to fight back against attempts to expand school voucher programs statewide, harm immigrants and refugees, enable racial injustice, and discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals and religious minorities. 

2. ACLU-TN's Legislative Session Priority Issue Areas

A.ACLU-TN's Legislative Session Priority Issue Areas

  • Criminal Legal Reform
  • Democracy & Voting Rights 
  • Free Speech & Censorship 
  • Racial Justice 
  • Reproductive Justice 
  • Trans Justice

3. Legislative Wins

A.Legislative Wins


Education Equity 

DEFATED|SB 0503/HB 1183 (Oppose) would have established a statewide school voucher program and diverted public education funding to private schools not subject to oversight and federal anti-discrimination requirements. Taken off notice in both chambers on 4/18.  

DEFEATED|SB 2351/HB 1660 (Oppose) would have would have gutted inclusive non-discrimination policies at our colleges and universities. 

Trans Justice 

DEFEATED|SB 2816/ HB2627 (Oppose) would have subjected gender affirming care providers in TN to very invasive reporting requirements and harassment from the AG. Failed in the Senate on 3/12.  

DEFATED|SB 2781/HB 1949 (Oppose) would have criminalized trans people and people whom another individual assumes is trans for entering restrooms consistent with their gender identity, and allowed individuals to sue if they feel offended or embarrassed by another person seeing them in a restroom, and criminalized businesses for adopting inclusive bathroom policies. 

Free Speech & Censorship 

DEFEATED|SB 2225/HB 1615 (Oppose) This bill would block any lawsuits that challenge any rule, regulation, or procedure in the Senate or House of representatives. This bill was introduced in response to our lawsuit where we successfully protected the free speech rights of three Tennesseans who were forced to leave a House subcommittee meeting by state troopers for quietly holding 8 ½ x 11 inch pieces of paper expressing their opinions on issues in a House subcommittee meeting during the 2023 special session.  

DEFEATED|SB2173/ HB1661 (Oppose) Would have greatly expanded censorship of diverse viewpoints in public libraries by creating a petition process to allow for a group making up less than 1% of the community population to ban books from a local library.  

DEFEATED|SB 1722/HB 1605 (Oppose), as amended, bans all flags besides the U.S. flag, the state flag, and certain other exceptions like school flags and military flags. Failed on Senate floor on 4/23/24. 

The bill particularly targets flags that promote an "agenda," such as Black Lives Matter flags or Pride flags. Rainbow flags and other symbols celebrating LGBTQ+ pride are a protected form of free speech in school settings, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that First Amendment protections extend to “teachers and students.” 

Racial Justice 

PASSED|SB 0181/HB 1384 (Support) is a step towards decriminalizing HIV in Tennessee by removing the requirement that those with aggravated prostitution convictions must register for life as a violent sex offender, and allowing someone who was forced into prostitution because of human trafficking to clear their record of this charge if they meet certain conditions. Signed into law by the Governor. 

Reproductive Freedom 

PASSED|SB 1919/HB 2635 (Support) The 12-Month Supply Birth Control Bill allows all TennCare recipients to receive a 12-month supply of birth control at one time. This is especially helpful for Tennesseans who have inconsistent insurance coverage, or for those who face long drives and inconsistent pharmacy hours. Signed into law by the Governor. 

Immigrants’ Rights 

DEFEATED|SB 2568/HB 2034 (Oppose) This bill was an anti-immigrant bill that would have required the department of safety to redesign temporary driver licenses and permits and temporary photo identification licenses issued to qualified noncitizens to make them easily distinguishable from driver and photo identification licenses issued to TN residents who are US citizens. To defeat this bill, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition successfully organized Tennesseans from across the state to contact their legislators and share their testimony during committee meetings. 

DEFEATED|SB 2802/HB 2078 (Oppose) This anti-immigrant transportation bill threatened to subject bus drivers, train conductors, airline personnel, and Uber and Lyft drivers to criminal prosecution if they unknowingly transport an undocumented immigrant across state lines, irrespective of their intent or awareness of the individual's immigration status.  As a result, bus drivers may likely begin to verify every passenger's immigration status upon boarding to evade the threat of criminal prosecution, discouraging some from using public transportation or seeking help from transportation services 

4. ACLU of Tennessee's Bills to Watch

A.ACLU of Tennessee's Bills to Watch


ACLU of Tennessee's Bills to Watch

As the session progresses and additional legislation is filed, we will post more specific details on bills we are monitoring and lobbying here. 

To take action and send a message to your legislator visit our legislative action center

Criminal Legal Reform 

  • SUPPORT | SB 15/HB 22 - As introduced, requires an audiovisual recording to be made of any interrogation of a child who has been taken into custody on suspicion that the child committed a delinquent act or unruly conduct unless a technical issue with the equipment or exigent circumstances prevent the recording. 
  • SUPPORT | SB 1479/ HB 1522 - As introduced, creates a Class E felony of a law enforcement officer operating a law enforcement body camera in any manner that would prevent the creation or recordation of evidence with the intent to obstruct justice.
  • OPPOSE | HB 1641 - As introduced, creates a Class A misdemeanor of violating a condition of release on bail; authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person without a warrant based on probable cause to believe that the person has violated a condition of release.
  • OPPOSE | HB 1719 - As introduced, removes the defendant's financial condition as a consideration for the magistrate in determining the amount of bail necessary to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant at trial and protect the safety of the public
  • OPPOSE | HB 1642 - As introduced, revises various provisions regarding pretrial release of a defendant charged with a criminal offense to require the magistrate to give first consideration to ensuring the safety of the community when determining whether to impose conditions of release or require a deposit of bail.
  • OPPOSE | HB 1933 - As introduced, prohibits the release of a person charged with a Class A or B felony on their own recognizance; requires a magistrate to set bail for a person charged with a Class A felony at $20,000 or more and for a person charged with a Class B felony at $10,000 or more.
  • OPPOSEHB 1718 -  As introduced, requires any conditions of release imposed on a defendant to include a requirement that the defendant submit to pretrial monitoring to ensure compliance with the conditions; requires the court to order bail to be forfeited and an arrest warrant issued if the defendant does not comply with conditions of release; limits, to criminal or circuit court judges, those who may release a defendant who has been arrested for failure to comply with the conditions of release.
  • OPPOSE | HB 2630 - As introduced, prohibits a clerk of court from accepting a cash bail deposit presented by a charitable bail organization on behalf of a defendant; excludes a person soliciting donations with respect to a defendant who is related to the person by blood, marriage, or adoption from the meaning of "charitable bail organization."
  • OPPOSE | HJR 859 - Proposes an amendment to Article I, Section 15 of the Constitution of Tennessee to remove the right to bail for the following offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great: act of terrorism; second degree murder; aggravated rape of a child; aggravated rape; grave torture; and any other offense, as of November 3, 2026, for which a defendant, if convicted, could not be released prior to the expiration of at least 85 percent of the entire sentence imposed.
  • OPPOSE | SB 1834/HB 1663 - As introduced, authorizes the death penalty as a punishment for rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, or especially aggravated rape of a child.

Democracy & Voting Rights 

  • SUPPORT | SB 1241/HB 1256 - As introduced, removes the permanent deprivation of the right of suffrage upon conviction of certain infamous crimes; changes the revocation of a person's voting rights pursuant to a conviction for an infamous crime to a temporary suspension of voting rights for the period of confinement, probation, or parole; automatically restores a person's voting rights upon release from confinement, probation, or parole. 
  • OPPOSE | HJR 706 - Proposes amendment to prohibit a member of the general assembly who is expelled from the general assembly from qualifying for office in the general assembly for four years immediately following expulsion.
  • OPPOSE | SB 2631/HB 1616 - As introduced, prescribes a process by which a person must declare a statewide political party or recognized minor party affiliation before voting in a primary election; designates persons who choose not to affiliate with a political party as "Unaffiliated"; authorizes unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections.
  • OPPOSE SB 2225/HB 1652 - As introduced, declares that no circuit, chancery, or other court has subject matter jurisdiction over any legal action, challenging any rule, regulation, or procedure of the senate or house of representatives.

Free Speech and Censorship 

  • OPPOSE | HB 1605 - As introduced, prohibits LEAs and public charter schools from displaying in public schools flags other than the official United States flag and the official Tennessee state flag. 
  • OPPOSE | HB 1661 - As introduced, enacts the “Restricted Access by Minors to Obscene Library Materials Act.”
  • OPPOSE | SB 2610/HB 2348 - As introduced, prohibits an entity supported in whole or in part by public funds from knowingly providing meeting spaces or other forums, including, but not limited to, electronic and print platforms, to a designated entity by which the designated entity may solicit material support, recruit new members, encourage violent action, or advocate divisive concepts; specifies a violation of the prohibition as a Class E felony, punishable only by a fine of up to $3,000.

Racial Justice

  • SUPPORT | SB 1241/ HB 1256 -  As introduced, removes the permanent deprivation of the right of suffrage upon conviction of certain infamous crimes; changes the revocation of a person's voting rights pursuant to a conviction for an infamous crime to a temporary suspension of voting rights for the period of confinement, probation, or parole; automatically restores a person's voting rights upon release from confinement, probation, or parole. 
  • OPPOSE | SB 908/HB 994 - As introduced, clarifies that a threat to use deadly force by a private citizen making an arrest is not in itself considered a use of deadly force; prohibits a private citizen from threatening to use deadly force during the course of a citizen's arrest unless the arrest is for a crime committed or threatened against the citizen making the arrest or for a violent crime committed or threatened in the presence of the citizen making the arrest.

LGBTQ+ Rights 

  • OPPOSE | SB 596/HB 878 - As introduced, states that a person is not required to solemnize a marriage if the person has an objection to solemnizing the marriage based on the person's conscience or religious beliefs. 
  • OPPOSE | SB 1738/ HB 2169 - As introduced, enacts the "Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Parent Protection Act," which prohibits the department of children's services from requiring an adoptive or foster parent to support a policy on sexual orientation or gender identity that conflicts with the parent's sincerely held religious or moral beliefs

Reproductive Justice 

  • SUPPORT | SB 128/HB 576 - As introduced, requires the bureau to establish a pilot program during the 2024-2025 fiscal year to provide payment for doula care services for pregnant women enrolled in the TennCare program who meet certain criteria; authorizes the director to seek a federal waiver to implement the pilot program. 
  • SUPPORT | SB 1590/HB 1626 - As introduced, enacts the “Fundamental Right to Reproductive Health Care Act,”
  • OPPOSE | SB 1971/HB 1895 - Abortion travel ban for minors; creates a new criminal offense of “abortion trafficking of a minor” for anyone other than a parent or legal guardian who “recruits, harbors, or transports” a minor for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.

Trans Justice 

  • OPPOSE | SB 620/HB 1414 - As introduced, enacts the “Families’ Rights and Responsibilities Act,” which declares that the ability of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of that parent’s child is a fundamental right. This bill claims to protect parents’ rights, but they do no such thing. Instead, this bill would endanger trans students, who have the right not to be outed and to be treated with dignity and respect at school. 
  • OPPOSE | SB 2781/HB 1949 -  As introduced, expands the offense of observation without consent to include a person or entity that adopts rules or enforces a policy or other work-related guidance for employees or contractors to promote or assist in the commission of observation without consent in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, including a restroom, locker room, dressing room, or shower, designated for multi-person, single-sex use; creates a civil action for invasion of privacy based on a violation of observation without consent.

Education Equity

  • OPPOSE | SB 2787/HB 2468 -  As introduced, requires the department of education to study the school choice programs available in other states and to submit a report of the department's findings at the conclusion of the study to the governor, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the speaker of the senate no later than January 1, 2025.

5. Resources