Lawmakers file bills barring local COVID-19 control during state's third special session this year

tennessee capitol hill
Posted at 5:57 PM, Oct 25, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A mask mandate ban, employee vaccination mandate ban and liability rules for people who've had negative impacts to the COVID-19 vaccine are all issues that will soon be discussed in Tennessee committee rooms.

These are some of the ideas lawmakers have heading into the year's third special session.

Having three special sessions in a year is a rare occurrence in Tennessee's history. It's happened just two other times.

State legislators are taking advantage of the opportunity by filing contentious COVID-19 related bills.

So far, eight bills have been filed by house representatives. They, mostly, are addressing Republican priorities for pandemic safety precautions.

Republican State Rep. Scott Cepicky was the first to file legislation. House Bill 9001 would allow people who get a COVID-19 vaccine in response to a workplace requirement to sue if they have a negative reaction to the inoculation.

"What we're trying to do is if someone has to make that ultimate decision, whether to feed their families or not, if they go in and take the vaccine as mandated by a business, they have to have some type of protection for those side effects that may or may not appear in the future," said Rep. Cepicky.

Other bills filed Monday stop employers from requiring vaccinations, bans on mask mandates in school districts, stopping school districts from contact tracing and stopping businesses from checking vaccination status.

State Republican leaders said last week their hope is to confront potential actions from President Joe Biden.

"We have a lot of problems from the federal level putting mandates on our students and being pushed down to them through our school boards," said Cepicky.

Lawmakers have until 4 p.m. Tuesday to file bills for the special session.