Tennessee Legislature Stalls on Bill Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for K-12 Students

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.

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General Assembly Considering ‘Tennessee Election Integrity Act’ to Regulate Outside Funding for Election Officials, Require Official Watermarking for Absentee Ballots

Big Tech and Corporate America may face more difficulty funding the elections process under the “Tennessee Election Integrity Act.” In part, the act would require funding from nongovernmental entities to be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly if in session, or the Governor, House and Senate Speaker, Secretary of State, Comptroller of Treasury, and the General Assembly Treasurer. Additionally, an amendment to the act announced on Tuesday would make it more difficult to produce fraudulent absentee ballots.

In short, the amendment to the bill would require non-electronic absentee ballots to be watermarked by local election commissions. That way, county election officials could verify the validity of the ballots upon receipt. Ballots without the watermark would be discarded.

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Senate Passes Bill Exempting Individuals from Vaccinations as Requirement for Adoption or Foster Care

The Senate determined Thursday that those wishing to become adoptive or foster parents should be granted increased vaccine exemptions. This bill would still require that individuals and that individual’s household undergo vaccinations in order to either adopt or foster children 18 months of age or younger, or children with “significant documented medical needs.”

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill, one mother named Kim Carter testified that she was denied foster care opportunities because her children weren’t fully vaccinated at the time. She added that her story wasn’t unique.

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General Assembly to Vote on ‘Teacher’s Discipline Act’ Empowering Teachers to Handle Problematic Students

The Tennessee General Assembly will consider whether teachers have greater disciplinary authority over troublesome students. Specifically, the bill would allow teachers to request the removal of students whose behavior violates the policies or codes of conduct of either the district or the school. It would also enable teachers to use “reasonable or justifiable force” to relocate students if necessary. 

If passed, the bill would also require boards of education and public charter school governing bodies to include provisions that would allow teachers to enforce student discipline and accountability. This would extend to teachers’ abilities to intervene in physical altercations between students, or between students and an employee. This bill would apply to both public and charter schools in the state. 

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Tennessee Senate Passes Bill Protecting Girls in Sports

The Senate passed a bill requiring proof of biological sex at birth for participation in interscholastic youth sports. This would, effectively, prohibit transgender individuals from joining sports teams of the opposite sex. This companion bill by State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) passed 27-6.

The bill was introduced initially by State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) several days after the general election. If passed, it will pose a direct challenge to President Joe Biden. Biden had declared that gender identity was a protected class under discrimination laws in one of his initial executive orders.
The bill, introduced by State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) several days after the general election, poses a challenge to one of President Joe Biden’s first executive orders. Biden had declared that gender identity was a protected class under discrimination laws.

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Tennessee Legislators Introduce Second Amendment Sanctuary Act to Oppose Potential Biden Executive Orders on Gun Rights

In response to President Joe Biden’s promises to further limit gun ownership, Tennessee legislators introduced the Second Amendment Sanctuary Act.

The bill summarizes its premise in just under a page – prohibiting enforcement of any federal government laws, treaties, executive orders, rules, or regulations that violate the Second Amendment. The summary explained that passage would render pressures on Second Amendment rights as “null, void, and unenforceable.” Additionally, the bill would limit state or local governments from using public funds, personnel, or property to enforce them.

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Tennessee General Assembly Moves on Bill Protecting Girls in Sports, Challenging Biden’s Executive Order

Once again, Tennessee’s General Assembly has taken up a bill ensuring biological sex is a factor in youth sports. Although the bill would apply to both genders, its preamble identified girls as the motivator for drafting the legislation. It referenced the general biological differences between the genders in competition, as well as noted the impact on female athletes when it comes to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities.

“[I]t is unfortunate for some girls that those dreams, goals, and opportunities for participation, recruitment, and scholarships can be directly and negatively affected by new school policies permitting boys who are male in every biological respect to compete in girls’ athletic competitions if they claim a female gender identity,” stated the bill. 

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Tennessee Legislator Proposes Bill Preventing Businesses from Denying Service to Maskless or Unvaccinated Customers

State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) filed a bill for introduction that would amend certain aspects of the Tennessee Code relative to discrimination. Senate Bill 320 would expand the Code’s provisions to prevent businesses from denying services to individuals who don’t wear or use a certain medical device, or if they haven’t received a certain medical treatment. It would also prevent local government entities from enforcing individual compliance with those medical devices or treatments.

Medical devices covered by the bill are instruments; apparatuses; implements; machines; appliances; implants; reagents for in vitro use; softwares; and materials such as face masks, shields, or cloth coverings. Medical treatments are procedures or medications such as immunizations. 

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State Representative Bruce Griffey Takes On Several Illegal Immigration Issues

Before even being sworn into his first term in office, Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) has been calling for measures to decrease illegal immigration to Tennessee which began with a call for a Resolution supporting President Trump in ending “birth right” citizenship, as reported by The Tennessee Star. In addition to…

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Bill Introduced By State Representative Bruce Griffey and Senator Joey Hensley to Help Fund Trump’s Border Wall Catches Attention of Laura Ingraham

The day after State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) filed a bill intended to help fund President Trump’s wall on the southern border, conservative radio and talk show host Laura Ingraham tweeted about it. Griffey’s bill HB 0562, which is being sponsored in the State Senate by Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) as…

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