Here's what's happening on day three of Tennessee's special session on COVID-19

Tennessee Special Session
Posted at 10:48 AM, Oct 29, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/AP) — Lawmakers are continuing to consider many bills on COVID-19 on Friday and the legislature's special session on the pandemic enters day three.

The legislature met late into the evening to discuss a handful of bills that could limit businesses' ability to set regulations in relation to COVID-19.

On Friday afternoon, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill that would prohibit most businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for their customers and workers. Despite this bill, there is still a federal mandate denoting businesses with at least 100 employees must require vaccination or weekly testing.

If the bill is passed by the GOP-controlled General Assembly, it could also severely limit when companies and government entities — including schools — can require masks amid the pandemic. Lawmakers on Thursday quickly advanced the measure carrying the prohibitions, despite growing opposition from the business community.

Gov. Bill Lee's office later released a statement acknowledging there have been some concerns from the business community.

"We have heard from a number of businesses and groups regarding proposals, including Ford and other OEMs, and we have told them to reach out directly to legislators with their concerns," the statement read.

The bill carries additional wide-ranging implications, including an assurance that those fired due to resisting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate can receive unemployment benefits.

The Tennessee House has passed a bill that would make the pandemic response uniform across all counties.

The bill passed in the state house 67-23. The bill would give the Tennessee health commissioner the sole power over quarantine responses for both people and businesses.

The House also passed a bill that would make school board races partisan in a 52-39 vote.

Lawmakers filed a total of 84 bills for the third session of the year, but only a handful garnered a nod from Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally. Here's what happened during the second day of meetings in both chambers.