Tennessee Republicans lead charge against forced government discrimination in Covid-19 special session

Legislation protects against vaccine, masks mandates and sets health care standards

The House and Senate chambers concluded a third extraordinary session of the 112th General Assembly Oct. 30, passing a comprehensive legislative package that restores individual rights of Tennesseans by protecting against harmful federal mandates.

The extraordinary special session covered a number of issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including President Joe Biden’s unconstitutional plan to deny Americans their right to make personal health decisions for themselves by forcing millions of private-sector employees to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

The General Assembly passed seven key pieces of legislation:

Vaccines: House Bill 9077 prohibits an individual, private business, government entity or school from mandating or compelling a person to show proof of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Mask mandates for the general public: House Bill 9077 sets strict standards for how and when a publicly-funded private business or local or state government entity declares a mask mandate for the general public. It allows for a mask mandate in severe conditions when the governor has declared a state of emergency for Covid-19.

Mask mandates in schools: House Bill 9077 prohibits a public school or school board from requiring a student or person to wear a face mask on school property unless certain severe conditions are met.

Mature Minor Doctrine: House Bill 9077 ensures health care providers get written consent from a legal guardian before vaccinating a child against the Covid-19 virus.

Unemployment benefits As amended, House Bill 9077 specifies that a person who was terminated or left their job because they failed or refused a Covid-19 vaccine is eligible for unemployment benefits.

Covid-19 Liability: Extends liability protections in the Tennessee Covid-19 Recovery Act to July 1, 2022. This provides protection to health care professionals and facilities, businesses, non-profits, religious organizations, public institutions of higher learning, individuals, and other legal entities from claims arising from Covid-19 unless there is clear and convincing evidence of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Heath care standards of practice:

  • Quarantine – Establishes the commissioner of health as the sole authority to determine quarantine guidelines.
  • Monoclonal Antibodies – No government agency may prioritize monoclonal antibodies to any group. Health care providers must exercise independent professional judgment when determining whether to recommend, prescribe, offer or administer monoclonal antibodies to any patient they believe needs it.
  • End-of-life care – Hospitals may not restrict patients from having at least one close family member present during their stay as long as the family member tests negative for Covid-19 and is not exhibiting symptoms of the virus or other communicable disease. The amendment aims to prevent patients from dying alone.