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Tennessee Gov. Lee signs first-of-its-kind de-banking bill

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Sharp, director of the ADF Center for Public Policy, regarding Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s signing of a landmark bill prohibiting discriminatory de-banking. Tennessee’s law prohibits major financial institutions like nationally chartered banks with at least $100 billion in assets, along with major insurance providers, from discriminating against otherwise qualified customers because of their political or religious views, speech, or affiliations. ADF attorneys had urged state lawmakers to adopt the legislation:

“Gov. Lee and state lawmakers have taken an important step forward in protecting the fundamental freedoms of Tennesseans of every political and religious stripe. This is a win for everyone. No one should be denied access to basic financial services because of their political or religious beliefs. Banks that are too big to fail are too big for bias. It’s the government’s duty to protect the fundamental freedoms of its citizens. That’s why Tennessee has done the right thing here and charted the course for other states to follow. ADF is thankful to the Pro-Family Legislative Network, Foundation for Government Accountability, the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Association of Mature American Citizens, and the National Committee for Religious Freedom for their invaluable expertise and support on this legislation. Additionally, we want to commend Sen. Majority Leader Jack Johnson and Rep. Jason Zachary for their leadership in passing this important bill.”

The following quote may be attributed to ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco:

“Big Banks and Big Tech pose threats to freedom like Big Brother does. What’s worse is the mounting evidence that Big Brother is enlisting Big Business in its censorship schemes. Government is too often attempting an end-run around the Constitution by outsourcing censorship to some of the most powerful corporations the world has ever known. But where the First Amendment is concerned, the government can’t do indirectly what it is forbidden from doing directly. This law protects against that kind of censorship, and it’s one key reason states should follow Tennessee’s example.”

The following quote may be attributed to Tennessee State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson:

“In Tennessee, we will not allow big corporate banks to use ESG factors to discriminate against consumers for their religious or political views. This troubling trend will not be tolerated in Tennessee. I was glad to work with Rep. Zachary and my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation and push back against viewpoint discrimination.”

The following quote may be attributed to Tennessee State Rep. Jason Zachary:

“Every Tennessean should feel secure in expressing their religious and political views without fear of their financial services being denied or canceled by their bank for non-financial factors. We have taken swift action to protect Tennesseans from this new trend of de-banking by the nation’s largest banks. I appreciate Leader Johnson and his efforts in the Senate and my Republican colleagues who supported the legislation.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Related Resources

ABOUT Matt Sharp

Matt Sharp serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Public Policy. In this role, he leads ADF's team of policy experts as they craft legislation and advise government officials on policies that promote free speech, religious freedom, parental rights, and the sanctity of human life. Since joining ADF in 2010, Sharp has authored federal and state legislation, regularly provides testimony and legal analysis on how proposed legislation will impact constitutional freedoms, and advises governors, legislators, and state and national policy organizations on the importance of laws and policies that protect First Amendment rights. He has twice testified before the U.S. Congress on the importance of protecting free speech and religious liberty in federal law. Sharp also authored an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of nearly 9,000 students, parents, and community members asking the court to uphold students’ right to privacy against government intrusion. Sharp earned his J.D. in 2006 from the Vanderbilt University School of Law. A member of the bar in Georgia and Tennessee, he is also admitted to practice in several federal courts.

ABOUT Jeremy Tedesco

Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of corporate engagement for Alliance Defending Freedom. In this role, Tedesco leads ADF’s efforts to combat corporate cancel culture and build a business ethic that respects free speech, religious freedom, and human dignity. Immediately preceding his current role, Tedesco served as senior vice president for communications, during which time he was a lead convener of the Philadelphia Statement, a movement dedicated to restoring free speech and civil discourse. Previously, Tedesco litigated First Amendment cases at the highest levels. He was part of the legal team that represented cake artist Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued Phillips’ case at the Colorado Court of Appeals. He was also the lead brief writer in two other U.S. Supreme Court wins, Reed v. Town of Gilbert and Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. Tedesco has also argued six times before five different federal appellate courts and founded and directed the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives, where he led efforts to protect individuals from government-coerced speech. Tedesco earned his Juris Doctor in 2004 from the Regent University School of Law.