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Lee calls on General Assembly to convene for special session

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Gov. Bill Lee (copy)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee called for the Tennessee General Assembly to convene on Monday, Aug. 10 for a special session to address COVID-19 liability protections, telehealth services and laws governing the Capitol grounds.

“As COVID-19 continues to present unique challenges, we feel it is in the best interest of the state to convene a special session to address liability protections and telehealth,” Lee said. “I thank Lt. Gov. [Randy] McNally and Speaker [Cameron] Sexton for their continued partnership as we work towards an efficient, productive assembly.” 

The special session will address extending COVID-19 liability protections in order to provide legal clarity and certainty for health care providers, businesses, schools, non-profits and others. 

“With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to present challenges for our people and our economy, it is now more important than ever that Tennessee businesses, hospitals, churches and schools have COVID-19 liability protection,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said. “The last thing small business owners, pastors, doctors and school superintendents need to worry about are frivolous lawsuits which would further impede their ability to do their jobs in this difficult time. 

“I am grateful Gov. Lee called this session to address COVID-19 liability and other issues critical to our state. I am committed to working deliberately and efficiently with Gov. Lee, Speaker Sexton and all members of the House and Senate to pass legislation on these issues and get our members back home quickly and safely.” 

Lawmakers will address the expansion of telehealth services to Tennesseans and encourage insurers to cover clinically appropriate, medically necessary services provided via telehealth. 

“I agree with Gov. Lee’s decision to call a special session,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said. “We are looking forward to coming back and finishing the people’s business to increase access to tele-health services, and to protect businesses, churches, academic and health facilities from baseless lawsuits during the ongoing pandemic. I am very appreciative of the call to strengthen existing laws against those who deface property, who escalate peaceful protests into acts of aggression and those who seek violence towards law enforcement and judicial members. 

“The House is committed to working with Gov. Lee and his administration, as well as Lt. Gov. McNally and the Senate to safely, efficiently and effectively address these timely issues for the benefit of Tennessee and Tennesseans.”

Lawmakers will also address laws governing Capitol grounds and surrounding areas that have recently been subject to vandalism, defacement and unlawful overnight camping. 

The full special session call may be viewed here.

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