Republican Tennessee lawmakers request special session to address COVID guidelines
Tennessee lawmakers sent an open letter to Gov. Bill Lee asking for a special session to address COVID-19 guidelines just as cases spike statewide.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee’s Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton and 72 other Republican lawmakers sent an open letter Wednesday to Governor Bill Lee requesting an extraordinary session to discuss school mask mandates.
In the letter, the Republican lawmakers said they wanted to “address misdirected and mandated responses to COVID-19 by local entities and officials.” They said they want to stop “overreach” by Tennessee’s independent health boards and school officials regarding the pandemic.
The lawmakers also want to address the “ongoing discrimination of Tennesseans by prohibiting their access to buildings due only to their vaccination status.”
The letter comes as the state is seeing a major spike in COVID-19 cases. According to state data, hospitalization numbers are reaching levels last seen during the winter months.
The state health department also announced Wednesday that only 7 percent of Tennessee ICU beds are available due to the spike. Here in East Tennessee, only five ICU beds are available across all of the region’s 19 hospitals.
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