MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee legislature will get back together for yet another special session in two days. But conservative Republican lawmakers have already whipped themselves into a frenzy over what they say is overreach – mostly by the Biden administration – by imposing vaccine mandates on freedom-loving Tennesseans. So before the gavel even goes down opening the session, most legislators have already made up their minds to do what it takes to stop employers from demanding that their workers get the COVID-19 vaccine to keep the entire workforce safe.
And that’s not all. Expect bills to limit the authority of health departments in the state’s largest counties – including Shelby – to tell citizens what to do to stop spreading the virus and to prevent school districts from imposing mask mandates.
One bill that has already been introduced would require businesses to compensate workers who get the vaccine and later develop serious side effects. Even though the legislature did just the opposite last year in protecting businesses from liability if workers contracted the virus on the job.
If this all sounds like a legislature run amok, it is. The anti-vaccine, anti-mask and anti-Joe Biden sentiment is a virus itself in many parts of Tennessee. And Republican lawmakers have been infected. So don’t be surprised by anything that emerges from the state capitol this week. Thankfully we still have the courts to keep the silliness from really doing damage.
I’m Otis Sanford, and that’s my point of view.