Tennessee Senate Rescinds Bill Amendment Allowing Colleges, Universities to Mandate Vaccines; Passes Bill

COVID Vaccine

The Tennessee Senate reamended a bill to strike an amendment allowing higher education to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. Under the latest amended version of the bill, institutions of higher education may only mandate the vaccine for health care students. These public colleges or universities may enforce those mandates so long as they don’t own or control the health care facility. 

Essentially, the higher education mandate would only be necessary for certain students involved in a private health care facility that requires the COVID-19 vaccine. The amendment would apply to students in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or any other health care profession.

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Tennessee House Passes Bill Requiring Educational Boards to Approve Contraception Information, Allowing Parents to Access and Opt Child Out of Information

The Tennessee House passed a bill enacting stricter oversight on contraceptive information for school-aged children. As amended, the legislation would require that any contraceptive information is consistent with public policy, approved by the local board of education or charter school governing body, and available upon request to the parent.

The educational boards must verify that the contraceptive information is both medically accurate and age-appropriate, and that it aligns with present state law and academic standards. If parents find the material objectionable, they can opt their student out without any penalty.

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Tennessee Senate Says Colleges, Universities Can Still Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine in Bill Amendment

The Tennessee Senate amended a bill prohibiting mandatory COVID-19 vaccines so that colleges and universities can still mandate it. The amendment came out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. 

The Senate was scheduled to take their final vote on the bill Wednesday, but they opted to conform to the House version of the bill and issue the amendment instead. The decision to temporarily postpone the final vote came from State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) after lengthy, heated debate occurred over the bill on the Senate floor.

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Tennessee Senate Passes Sentence Reduction Bill for First-Degree Murder

Reduced sentencing for first-degree murder passed the Tennessee Senate on Thursday. The bill as adopted by the Senate would allow life imprisonment sentences for first-degree murder to obtain release eligibility after serving 60 percent of 60 years less sentence credits earned, or 36 years which can be reduced to 25 years with sentencing credits. Although parole would be an option at that point, it wouldn’t be guaranteed.

A few types of criminals wouldn’t benefit from the proposed bill. Those serving life imprisonment without parole for aggravated rape of a child. Originally the bill excluded those who committed first-degree murder of a child, but an amendment to the bill dropped that provision. State Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixon) said that these changes weren’t “substantive” during the floor vote.

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General Assembly Passes ‘Unborn Child Dignity Act’ Requiring Burial or Cremation for Surgically Aborted Children

Following Governor Bill Lee’s approval, the state of Tennessee will require surgically aborted children to be put to rest humanely, through either burial or cremation. The Unborn Child Dignity Act would only extend to “ambulatory surgical treatment centers,” private offices, or other in-person facilities describe in the Tennessee Code. Meaning, the act wouldn’t cover children aborted through at-home procedures like the pill. 

State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) introduced the bill first, and it was picked up by State Representative Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) in the House. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, 27-6 along party lines.

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House Passes Bill Prohibiting Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines; Hospital Employees and Health Care Students Can Still Be Forced

The House passed a bill prohibiting government-mandated vaccines for COVID-19 or any of its variants. As amended, the bill would also exempt PreK-12 students from  having to receive the vaccine in order to attend any schools or child care facilities. It would also strike the law that makes it a Class C misdemeanor for anyone who refuses to be vaccinated or refuses to vaccinate someone under their care.

Furthermore, this bill would prohibit state government and agencies from mandating a person undergo medical treatment if they object based on religious grounds or their right of conscience. However, the bill wouldn’t protect college or university students enrolled in programs or fields of study involving healthcare professions such as medicine, dentistry, or pharmacy.

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State Senator Janice Bowling Talks Priorities: Abortion Remains Burial and Fiber to Premises for Rural Communities

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed State Senator (R) Janice Bowling to the newsmakers line to talks about her legislative priorities including bills pertaining to aborted human remains and fiber internet to rural Tennesseans.

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House to Vote Monday on Requiring Cremation or Burial of Aborted Fetal Remains

The Tennessee House will determine Monday whether Tennessee abortion clinics must cremate or bury aborted fetal remains. 

The sponsors on the bill are State Representative Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) and State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma). Bowling was the first to introduce the bill.

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Tennessee Senate Committee Approves Amended Bill Making County Health Boards Advisory Only, Prohibiting Vaccine Passports

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved a bill to make county health boards as advisory bodies only, and to prohibit mandatory vaccine passports. The bill was introduced by State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), and also sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

Currently, the components limiting county health boards’ powers and prohibiting vaccine passport mandates aren’t listed as part of the bill. They were introduced as an amendment in the House on Tuesday. Additionally, the bill would relegate local health authority to the state and limit county health officers’ quarantine-mandating powers – individuals and places that aren’t known to have contributed to the spread of a disease may not be quarantined.

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Tennessee House Health Subcommittee Punts Bill Banning Abortion to 2022

After deferring action last week on a bill banning abortion completely, the Tennessee House Health Subcommittee decided to push their decision off until 2022. The “Rule of Law Life Act” was sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) initially, and taken up in the House by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster).

As The Tennessee Star reported in early February, the bill saw movement quickly following its introduction. It declared that the Fourteenth Amendment extends the right to life to the unborn, and that life begins at conception.

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Group Says Amendment Passed by State Senate Committee to Afford Religious Exemptions to Vaccines in Pandemic Has Been Watered Down

Tennessee lawmakers are keeping their options open when it comes to mandatory vaccinations during a current or imminent pandemic. Although community members and advocacy groups have been fighting for their right to choose when it comes to their medical decisions during government-declared emergencies, most lawmakers haven’t been responsive. 

At the time of press, the amendment hasn’t been uploaded to the General Assembly website. However, The Tennessee Star obtained a copy of the amendment, included below:

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All Star Panelist Crom Carmichael and Senator Mark Pody Discuss Tennessee General Assembly Agenda and Vaccination Exemption

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael and State Senator (R) Mark Pody in studio to talk about the new vaccination bill on the table that would exempt people at a governmental level from taking the vaccine.

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Community Rallies to Support Vaccine Exemption Bill Ahead of Hearing; Senate Committee Recommends Passage

The Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee recommended for passage an amendment to a bill allowing for religious or conscientious vaccine exemptions. As The Tennessee Star reported, this amendment was originally a bill killed in the House Health Subcommittee early last month.

Prior the committee hearing, Tennessee Stands gathered in a “We the People” rally to show community support for the amendment. Tennessee Stands Executive Director and founder Gary Humble led the event, with speeches from State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), and a prerecorded statement from the bill sponsor, State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

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Bill Allowing Religious Exemptions to Vaccines Regardless of a Public Health Emergency Lives on as Potential Amendment in a Senate Bill

Through amendment, another legislator is seeking to revive a bill affording religious or conscientious exemptions for vaccines during a public health emergency. As The Tennessee Star reported, the original bill seeking to provide those protections was killed by the House Health Subcommittee earlier this month.

The bill carrying this amendment originally only sought to prohibit state or local governments from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations. State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) announced the amendment during the Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing on Wednesday.

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Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling Talks About Her Bills Addressing Vaccine Mandates and Medical Cannabis

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee (R) State Senator Janice Bowling to the newsmakers line to talk about her proposed bills addressing vaccine mandates and medical cannabis.

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Law Enforcement Officers Tell Senate Committee That Medical Marijuana Supporters Are Blowing Smoke, While Co-Sponsor Bowling Says Her Plan Provides Alternative to Opioids

State Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) on Thursday shared her continued support for allowing medical marijuana after a vote was postponed. The vote was delayed after Wednesday’s hearing in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, WJHL said. Bowling, of Tullahoma, is a co-sponsor of SB0486, the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act. The…

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