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The Latest: Louisiana governor orders ban on discrimination

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on legislation that critics say discriminates against transgender people by limiting their bathroom choices. Supporters say it protects privacy and safety. (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued an executive order banning discrimination in state government based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

He also rescinded his Republican predecessor’s order offering protections to people who oppose same-sex marriage.

Edwards, a Democrat, released the order Wednesday.

It prohibits state agencies and contractors from harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation disability, or age. The order includes an exemption for contractors that are religious organizations.

The provision affecting contractors takes effect July 1. The rest starts immediately.

In the non-discrimination order, Edwards also terminated an executive order from former Gov. Bobby Jindal. That order prohibited state agencies from denying licenses and contracts to businesses that take actions because of religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.

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12:05 p.m.

Dozens of business leaders have signed a letter asking Tennessee lawmakers to kill a piece of legislation known as the transgender bathroom bill.

The CEOs of Williams-Sonoma, Airbnb, Alcoa, T-Mobile and Dow Chemical were among the 60 business leaders who signed the letter and said the proposal has no place in Tennessee.

A group of advocates for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people dropped off a letter to House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, both Republicans.

Under the measure, students at public schools and universities would be required to use bathrooms and locker rooms assigned to their gender at birth. Supporters say it protects the privacy of students and the rights of everyone. Opponents call it discriminatory.

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5:10 a.m.

A South Carolina bill limiting transgender people’s bathroom choices is up for discussion a week after Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and state business leaders called the proposal unnecessary.

People are expected to pack a Senate hearing on the bill Wednesday, though the subcommittee is unlikely to take any vote. Its chairman, Sen. Lee Bright, introduced the measure last week, saying he supports a North Carolina law that’s led to companies ending expansion plans in the state and conventions going elsewhere.

Bright said he’s had enough of tolerance if that means “men who claim to be women” going into a bathroom with children.

State Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Pitts says Bright’s creating a nonexistent political crisis to save his political career. Bright faces three GOP opponents in June.

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