NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Republican super majority is weeks away from calling themselves into a Special Session to do away with COVID-19 restrictions.
That’s if House Speaker Cameron Sexton can continue to convince Senators to sign on.
Lawmakers have been vocal about convening the Special Session to address COVID-19 school mandates.
But, it comes despite three Federal judges ruling COVID restrictions in schools like masking up is lawful.
Governor Bill Lee said he has no idea what will come out the Republican led Special Session regarding COVID-19. “I can’t. I don’t know what they’re going to do in that session,” he said.
Lee has lost three Federal Court challenges to his mask-opt out order and didn’t answer the criticism that the COVID-19 Special Session is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“I think it is a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Knoxville Democrat Rep. Gloria Johnson said. “I think that the courts are being clear.”
Following a report from the Tennessee Lookout detailing the state’s top special education commissioner was demoted after she testified under oath about his mask order, Governor Lee skirted around whether he believes children with disabilities deserve to go to school safely in this COVID environment.
“Most importantly, what I think is, that every parent should have the opportunity to make decisions about their child’s health and well-being including parents of children with disabilities,” Lee said.
Courts have also ruled Lee’s mask opt-out order likely violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“As someone who taught Special Ed for 27 years,” Johnson said, “Absolutely, every child deserves access to a public education and those kids that are being kept away because of their immune system when we can simply wear a masks for a temporary amount of time until we get pass this.”
According to the TN Lookout, Commissioner Theresa Nicholls said Governor Lee “had not consulted with her before issuing an executive order that barred schools from enforcing universal mask mandates.”
Lawmakers are eyeing October 27th for the COVID-related Special Session.