Bill aims to hold private employers liable for vaccine side effects

Published: Oct. 24, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The first two bills have been filed for the upcoming special session of the Tennessee General Assembly, which begins on Wednesday.

One of the bills would make private employers liable for COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

Workers would be allowed to receive workers’ compensation if they experience a side effect.

The other bill would make local school board elections partisan.

It’s the third special session this year and will focus on COVID-19 restrictions.

It comes just days after a special session in which Tennessee lawmakers approved nearly $900 million dollars in incentives for the Ford plant at the Memphis Regional Megasite.

Unlike the other two special sessions which were called by Gov. Bill Lee, this one was called by the general assembly itself.

“Almost always if there’s a special session, it’s because the governor has called it,” said Action News 5 political analyst Michael Nelson.

Nelson says Republicans had been pushing Lee to call a special session to address mask mandates in schools.

Instead, the governor issued an executive order, allowing parents to opt out.

Federal courts have since blocked the governor’s executive order, including in Shelby County.

“[Republicans] want to see it done as a matter of law. An executive order is one thing, easier to challenge in the courts, as has happened. These legislators want to make it a matter of actual law that you can’t be required to wear a mask in most settings,” said Nelson.

Democrats like State Sen. Raumesh Akbari oppose the special session.

“Quite frankly this other special session is unnecessary,” said Akbari. “They’re going to do some things with health boards, I think requiring state permission for our local health boards to act, some things about COVID vaccines and employers.”

As of Sunday, only two bills had been filed.

Both were authored by Republican State Rep. Scott Cepicky.

One bill classifies vaccine side effects as injuries and would allow workers who were required by private employers to get the vaccine to receive workers’ compensation.

Employees would have 30 days after experiencing a vaccine side effect to provide written notice to their employer.

Cepicky’s other bill would make local school board elections partisan.

Candidates would be allowed to identify as a member of a political party.

Opponents worry it will lead to more political division.

Supporters say it’s a way to provide voters with more information about the candidates.

The special session starts on Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.