Tennessee bathroom law sponsor says criminal penalties are now included in bill

Tennessee bathroom law sponsor says criminal penalties are now included in bill
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A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee now says a new law requiring state businesses and government facilities to post signs outside bathrooms if they allow transgender people to use them includes criminal penalties, even though such penalties weren't mentioned when the bill was debated this year, according to The Associated Press.

State Rep. Tim Rudd (R) said businesses could face a class B misdemeanor if they don’t post the signage within 30 days after being warned, even though in March he told other lawmakers the bill did not provide for fines or penalties.

Rep. Bill Beck (D) told the newswire service on Thursday that Rudd misled other state lawmakers on his remarks on this legislation.

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“It was a misleading statement to the entire, full State Committee, some 20 representatives,” Beck told the AP. “Very discouraging to pass legislation with misleading answers.”

Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the bill into law on May 17. It's one of several controversial pieces of legislation approved by the GOP-controlled state government that has drawn sharp criticism as discriminatory from the LGBT community.

The law will be enacted July 1, according to the AP.