The governor of Tennessee signed a sweeping bill into law that prohibits businesses from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and imposes limits on schools

The governor of Tennessee signed a sweeping bill into law that prohibits businesses from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations and imposes limits on schools

bill lee
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Friday signed a bill that limits school and business authority over COVID-19 protocols.

  • Under the law, private businesses are not allowed to require employees to be vaccinated.

  • Schools are unable to require vaccinations or mask mandates unless specific conditions are met.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Friday signed a bill into law that bars private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination against the coronavirus.

The law goes into effect immediately and will likely go up against legal challenges, according to the Tennessean.

Schools are also prohibited from mandating proof of vaccination under the law, unless specific conditions are met. There must be at least 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents within a 14-day period before schools and other government entities can require vaccinations or enforce mask-wearing.

The law could force some businesses to determine whether to abide by federal or state laws. Under a mandate from the Biden administration, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require employers with 100 or more employees to guarantee workers have gotten COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing. A federal appeals court has temporarily stayed that mandate.

Schools could also be caught between state and federal mandates. Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesperson Sean Braisted told the Tennessean that system administrators are conflicted between federal and state mandates.

“Our preference would be that MNPS could continue to keep students safe and make decisions based on facts and not politics,” Braisted said. “Metro Schools always seeks to follow the law. We do have concerns about conflicts between the state legislation and federal laws based on the decisions in federal courts in each of the three grand divisions of the state. We anticipate that these concerns will be resolved in the courts as well.”

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah are among the states contesting the legality of the federal vaccination mandate, which has created an uproar among Republican politicians across the country. More than half of all US states have so far filed or joined lawsuits in opposition to the mandate.

The law still allows private businesses to enforce mask mandates, the Tennessean reported.

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