NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office is suspending all COVID-19 exemptions after two judges stopped the federal government from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
One judge’s ruling applies for federal contractors and subcontractors, while another federal judge also is preventing Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from requiring staff of certain healthcare providers to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
This comes as the delta and omicron variants are circulating and causing some concern. However, Tennessee conservatives are celebrating the recent rulings that the federal government cannot mandate healthcare workers to be vaccinated.
Speaker of the Tennessee House Cameron Sexton, who led the effort to restrict vaccine mandates on the state level, praised the decision.
“The legal question is whether CMS possesses the authority to issue that mandate, so did congress assign them that authority to administratively or legally require those mandates, and that’s the specific holding of that court. They said CMS did not possess that legal authority,” Rep. John Ray Clemmons, a Nashville Democrat said.
The rulings are unlikely to be the final determination on this issue as other similar cases are being heard throughout the country.
Private companies are still able to require vaccination. The comptroller’s office issued 69 exemptions since the COVID special session law was put into place.