Tennessee lawmaker targets private employers, school boards for COVID session | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

Ahead of next week’s special legislative session on COVID-19 restrictions, a Tennessee lawmaker has introduced bills holding employers liable for COVID-19 vaccine side effects and making school board elections partisan.

Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, is the first to file legislation after House and Senate leadership officially announced this week the session could cover a wide range of issues, from limiting the governor’s emergency power to regulating private businesses for requiring vaccines. 

In the state legislature, Cepicky has been among the most vocal skeptics of the vaccine’s effectiveness. At a July legislative hearing, Cepicky insisted the vaccinated population “don’t know what they are putting in their bodies” and pressured the state’s health department to stop advertising COVID-19 vaccines about teens.

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Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, holds up a printout of a Tennessee Department of Health Facebook post promoting vaccinations while questioning the agency on June 16. Cepicky proposed the possibility of dissolving the entire agency to stop it from "peer pressuring" teenagers to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

The lawmaker was one of three House representatives to vote against the $884 million legislative package this week for Ford’s $5.6 billion investment in West Tennessee. On the House floor, he said being unable to curtail COVID-19 restrictions during that session — specifically tailored to address the Ford project — as the reason why he protested the deal.

HB9001, one of two bills Cepicky filed Thursday, would categorize side effects from COVID-19 vaccines as injuries eligible for workers’ compensation. The bill would apply to private employers, including higher education institutions.

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