Tennessee State Senate passes bill aimed at Vanderbilt’s ‘all-comers policy’

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, amended the ban on all-comers so that it applies to any private school that receives more than $24 million in state tax revenue. Only Vanderbilt takes in an amount that large

The state Senate approved legislation Monday afternoon targeting Vanderbilt’s all-comers policy on a 19-12 vote.

The Senate approved Senate Bill 3597, which originally barred only the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Board of Regents systems from adopting all-comers, after it was expanded to include Vanderbilt. A similar effort is under way in the state House of Representatives, which could vote on the measure today.

The bill wouldn’t strip the school of any funding, but supporters suggested they might come back and do so next year unless the school abandons all-comers, which requires campus groups — including religious organizations — to adopt the university’s non-discrimination policies.

Several religious organizations have protested that all-comers forces them to accept members and leaders who do not share their beliefs.

SB 3597 was brought to the floor of the Senate as a measure that would keep UT and Regents schools from taking on a similar policy. Leaders of both systems said they had no plans to do so.