Nonprofit social advocacy organization Tennessee Stands will rally in support of an amendment for vaccine religious exemptions on Wednesday. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee will be reviewing the bill carrying the amendment that day, which seeks to prohibit government-mandated COVID-19 vaccines.
In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Tennessee Stands founder Gary Humble explained that this rally would allow Tennessee lawmakers to see the support this bill has among their constituents.
“No frills. We’re calling people to gather,” stated Humble. “We’re calling on Tennessee to show up. We need to paint a picture for this committee and let them know that we the people are here. This idea that these are our ‘elected representatives’ – what are they elected to represent exactly? Our interests, the interests of our constituents.”
According to Humble, a recorded message of State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) will be played, and State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) and State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) will be present. Congressional candidate Quincy McKnight will also make an appearance.
Humble went on to say that, despite constituents submitting thousands of emails and hundreds of calls to their representatives, certain legislators haven’t been responsive.
“What we’re seeing is they’re more interested in representing the interests of their campaign donors and lobbyists than they are the interests of the people. We’re there to remind legislators that we’re the ones calling, we’re the ones emailing,” stated Humble. “The people of Tennessee are speaking, but these legislated officials aren’t listening. So what do you do? You show up.”
During the bill’s last hearing before the Senate committee, The Star reported that the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) petitioned lawmakers to oppose the bill. State Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixon) requested to defer a decision for another week, which was approved. Watson has received $3,000 combined in campaign funds from THA and Pfizer.
Humble assessed that hospitals like THA oppose this amendment because they want the ability to establish medical treatment requirements – such as mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
The rally is scheduled for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. CST, at the Legislative Plaza at the Capitol.
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