Tennessee Speaker, House Republicans issue letter asking for special session over COVID mandates

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – On Wednesday, Tennessee Speaker Cameron Sexton and House Republicans issued a letter requesting for Governor Bill Lee to call a special session of the General Assembly to convene and address what the state representatives call, “misdirected and mandated responses to COVID-19 by local entities and officials.”

More than 70 signatures of legislative leaders appear on the request for a special session. You can read the full letter here.

Earlier this month, Sexton threatened school districts with potential legislative force if they chose to issue a mask mandate or close schools due to the pandemic.

A number of school districts have enacted mask mandates to start the new year in the wake of growing COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday night, the Williamson County School Board passed a temporary mask mandate for elementary schools. Last week, the Metro Nashville Board of Education adopted a universal mask policy for the start of the year.

On Monday, Lee was asked if he would recommend schools instituting a mask mandate, “I would recommend that school districts listen to their parents,” he responded. “The way our state laws are set up, school districts have the authority to make those decisions. Those school board members are elected locally in those communities and should listen to their parents.”

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During an August 6 virtual briefing, the state’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Lisa Piercey, discussed a rise in pediatric cases in data from last month, nearly doubling over the last few weeks of July.

Children younger than 12 are currently not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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