NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The third extraordinary session has kicked off at the Capitol. This time, GOP lawmakers are hoping to use the next few days to stop COVID-19 requirements.
The Republican majority is aiming at changing how the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve ensured that we have a really robust economy here in Tennessee, so what we’re trying to do over the next week or so is to make sure that every employee, every business has a voice in how we respond as Tennesseans to COVID-19,” Rep. William Lamberth said.
Nearly 100 bills have been filed so far, which includes banning proof of COVID-19 vaccinations from customers or employees, allowing fired COVID vaccination refusers to collect unemployment and punishing local prosecutors for refusing to uphold the law.
“As we go through this for all of us to go through this together and just kinda lower down the tone a bit and I hope over the next week or so in the legislature I hope we do that as well, is to listen and learn from one another about this,” Rep. Lamberth said.
Proposed bills also target the governor’s power, but so far Gov. Bill Lee is remaining silent.
This comes as Lee’s administration has faced losing efforts in trying to rid the state of school mask mandates.
“It’s called a political agenda,” said Rep. Karen Camper, the Democratic leader in the lower body.
She says this is an attempt to score political points.
“This is a manufactured crisis that Republicans are pushing their own political agenda by bringing us here using taxpayer dollars unnecessarily for stuff we can do when we come back in January,” Camper added.
Democrats say businesses will be the first to be negatively impacted.
“I say people want to come to work in a safe environment, and I think businesses know their business, they know what it takes to make the environment safe and workers should be assured that the businesses and the companies that they work for want them to be there in a safe environment,” Camper said.
So far, the federal government has not released specific vaccine requirement plans for businesses with more than 100 employees, but federal workers are required to be vaccinated or frequently tested.