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Todd’s drag show bill becomes law in Tennessee

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State Representative Chris Todd speaks at a hearing in February regarding his bill prohibiting children from being present at drag shows with overtly sexual content. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee House Republicans Facebook page)

By Brandon Shields

Chris Todd’s (Republican-Madison County) priority list going into this legislative session in the State of Tennessee’s General Assembly was to sponsor and get the bill passed to limit drag shows in the state to not allow children to be present during overtly sexual performances.
The bill was ratified by both houses of the state legislature in the final days of February and signed by Governor Bill Lee on Thursday, making it a state law aimed at keeping children from being at drag shows with overtly sexual performances not suitable for young people.
As Todd is in his fifth year serving as a state representative, the bill has been the one that’s gotten the most attention of those he’s sponsored – surpassing the school board recall bill that got some statewide attention in 2019 and the bill in 2021 that allowed school board elections to become partisan.
“I’ve had interview requests from Reuters, NBC News and even BBC this week,” Todd said, clarifying he didn’t do interviews with any of them. “And it’s gotten plenty of attention from people outside the state, but honestly, if you don’t live in the state of Tennessee, I’m not that concerned with how you feel about anything we’re doing here because what we do doesn’t concern you.
“I serve the Tennessee voters, and I listen to them – whether they agree or disagree with me.”
The bill has also given Todd the chance to have conversations with voters he’d never had before.
“Statewide and locally within my district, the majority of Tennesseans who have contacted me have said they support the bill, because not many people think children should be exposed to anything overtly sexual no matter what orientation it is,” Todd said. “And I don’t see how you can be OK with that unless you’re a pedophile wanting to recruit and groom children for that kind of activity, which is illegal.
“I’ve even had people come up to me and tell me that they voted for me – or maybe they didn’t vote for me – but once they saw how I handled this bill and this issue that they have my vote as long as I continue to keep running for office.”
But Todd has also experienced negative experiences he hadn’t before.
“I got my first death threat this week,” Todd said. “But I don’t pay much attention to that sort of thing until it seems credible.”
Todd also has a couple other bills he’s planning to sponsor and get on the docket in the state house later this year.
One of them is another attempt at getting the state legislature to pass a joint resolution calling for term limits for both houses in the United States legislature. If 34 states were to pass resolutions, that would be enough to call a constitutional convention to add a federal law limiting how many years a federal legislator could serve.
“It could be easier than we expect to get to the 34 states, because a few states passed resolutions in the 1970s to try to push toward this and then it was pushed aside for whatever reason,” Todd said. “But unless another resolution was passed to repeal those, those resolutions are still good if we want to work to do this again.”
Todd also mentioned another bill he plans to push for later in the year that would allow partisan races in municipal elections.
“We pushed for partisan elections in local school boards two years ago and got that passed, and now we’re going to do the same with municipal elections,” Todd said. “When you vote for your local elected officials, everyone should have the right to know if the candidates have the same philosophy as you do, and giving municipalities the option to have party primaries before their general election would provide that opportunity.”
Brandon Shields is the managing editor for Magic Valley Publishing Company’s newest publication, The Jackson Post. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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