Bathroom Bill Could Cost Millions

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry says approval of pending state legislation that would regulate where transgender people can use the restroom in Tennessee schools could potentially cost Nashville $58 million in direct visitor spending from convention groups that may cancel events.

Barry, a Democrat elected last year, made that projection in a statement late Thursday, echoing sentiments of leaders of Tennessee’s budding tourism and film industries who expressed similar economic concerns and opposition to the bill earlier this week.

Barry urged state lawmakers to consider economic ramifications of that legislation, as well as separate Republican-sponsored state legislation, also opposed by LGBT advocates, that would let counselors and therapists refuse to see clients for religious beliefs.

Citing information from the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., Barry said three convention groups — representing an estimated $8.9 million in direct spending from conventioneers in the city— have said they would definitely cancel already-scheduled events in Nashville if the transgender-targeted bill is passed into law. Another nine convention groups — representing an estimated $48.8 million in direct expected spending — have said they would likely cancel events if it becomes law, according to the mayor’s office.

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