What to expect at next week's special session on COVID-19

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Posted at 5:52 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 19:39:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Next week is the start of the third special session this year.

Lawmakers promised Wednesday to focus on how the state deals with the pandemic.

The state will take aim at local government and even businesses. According to NewsChannel 5 political analyst Pat Nolan, there could be pushback from both groups.

When the third special session starts, lawmakers plan to look at how the state is handling masks, vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.

Two-thirds of the legislature made this happen, but the Democrat minority isn't happy.

Democrats were reluctant to talk about it after the end of the second special session for the Ford Megasite, Wednesday.

"We're taking two steps forward today and for some reason, we've got some people who want to take some steps back next week. That's a bad idea and we're against it," said Nashville Democrat Sen. Jeff Yarbro.

Nolan said some of the ideas by Republicans could have consequences.

Gov. Bill Lee says one plan is to defy President Joe Biden on vaccines.

"He ought to understand and certainly lawmakers should be able to understand that this is not a situation where he is going to be able to override this," said Nolan. "In fact, [the] state labor department has already decided that they can't jump in with a request from the legislature not to get into these vaccine mandates because they're afraid the federal government will take over their operations in this state."

There are also businesses that require vaccinations for employment. Lawmakers may try to stop that in Tennessee.

"This appears to be not only an effort for getting the federal government not to do mandates but for private industry not to do mandates," said Nolan. "I think that divides the traditional Republican alliance between business and the Republican party over business issues is going to be divided on this and strained."

Nolan said, in the worst-case scenario, it might cause some businesses to leave Tennessee.

According to capitol sources, the third session is expected to last at least a week.