The Tennessee legislature stalled on legislation prohibiting mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for K-12 students. The bill was removed from the Health Committee calendar last month. In the Senate, it was last referred back to the Calendar Committee after making it to the floor on Monday.
State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) and State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern) were the sponsors on the bill. Hensley’s legislative assistant Allison Wilson clarified with The Tennessee Star that the Senate won’t be hearing the bill this year.
Legislators have expressed hesitancy over imposing limits or bans on COVID-19 vaccine mandates, for this bill and others like it.
During the bill’s final hearing before the House Health Committee, State Representative Sam Whitson (R-Franklin) said he disagreed with mandating vaccines but requested to send the bill to summer study.
“I appreciate your work on this and I appreciate your intent. I don’t think any of us wants to mandate a vaccine, especially one created in emergency use,” said Whitson.
Health Committee Chairman Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) suggested that they take the bill off notice instead. That way, it would be heard in next year’s legislative session, where it would have a better chance of being considered.
Grills agreed and asked that the bill be taken off the calendar. He expressed that the legislature wasn’t in full support of the bill.
“I understand the posture that we’re in now – there’s some hesitancy here. And I don’t want to say the bill died, but I know we’ve had lots of conversation [and] we put ourselves on the line over and over again,” said Grills. “And like Chairman Whitson said: we’re kinda like the cat chasing his tail – we’re running around in circles and we’re not going anywhere.”
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