Facing Opposition By Representative Robin Smith And Representative Bryan Terry, Who Is Also The Chair Of The Health Committee, House Bill 10, Which Would Protect Individual Liberties Of Tennesseans, May Have A Difficult Time Making It Out Of Committee Unaltered.
Photo: Becker1999 / Flickr & capitol.tn.gov
Published February 23, 2021
Nashville, TN – Tennessee House Bill 10 is scheduled to be in Health Subcommittee once again today.
As introduced, House Bill 0010 (HB 0010) removes provisions in current law that override the ability of various persons to object to vaccinations, immunizations, or other medical procedures on the basis of religious tenets and practices.
Under the current law, a person’s right to object to vaccinations, examinations, and medical treatments on religious grounds is limited by various provisions and the law establishes certain exemptions to those requirements, including an exemption based on religious grounds.
House Bill 10 removes the provisions that limit a person’s objecting on religious grounds to vaccinations, examinations, and medical treatments.
However, District 6 Representative Robin Smith, Hixson (R), wants employers to retain the ability to force employees to have vaccines. She also wants to keep a section of outdated code from 1905 giving the TN Dept of Health the right to force you to have a vaccine under penalty of law (Class C Misdemeanor).
Smith is also striking the following language from the bill meant to further secure religious exemptions…
“A state agency or department shall not promulgate or enforce any rule, and a political subdivision of this state shall not promulgate, adopt, or enforce any ordinance or resolution, that requires medical examination, immunization, or treatment for those who object to the medical examination, immunization, or treatment on religious grounds or by right of conscience.”
The Tennessee Conservative reached out to Smith for comment but have not yet heard back from her.
Smith, along with Representative Bryan Terry, Murfressboro (R), who is the Chair of the Health Committee, oppose HB10.
Representative Terry’s office states, “…the bill doesn’t appear to simply protect religious freedoms. It appears to, also, negatively impact the liberty of others…”
And the following questions:
Should an employer be able to force an employee to receive a vaccine or medical treatment or constant medical testing under threat of losing their job?
Should a school be able to reject religious exemptions during an epidemic?
Should the TN Department of Health be able to force Tennesseans to be vaccinated under penalty of law?
Tennessee Stands answers with an emphatic “No”.
Humble warns that if Tennesseans want HB 10 to pass out of committee today, “You might want to call Representative Bryan Terry at (615) 741-2180.”
Robin Smith’s number is (615)-741-2548.
House Bill 10 creates protection from state agencies, departments, and political subdivisions promulgating or enforcing ordinances or resolutions that require medical examinations, immunization, and treatment to individuals who object on religious or right of conscience grounds.
Under present law, a person may object on religious grounds to the following vaccinations, immunizations, and medical procedures, except during an epidemic or the immediate threat of an epidemic:
(1) Children receiving vaccines in accordance with the guidelines of the center for disease control (CDC);
(2) Children receiving immunizations in accordance with the commissioner of health’s immunization designations prior to starting school; and
(3) Persons adhering to county health department regulations pertaining to medical treatment.
As stated above, an epidemic or the threat of an epidemic currently overrides an individual’s objection to these vaccinations, immunizations, and medical procedures.
House Bill 10 removes the language “in the absence of an epidemic or immediate threat thereof” and thereby allows an individual to object to these vaccinations, immunizations, and medical procedures on religious grounds without exception.
This bill also revises present law provisions regarding the religious basis exemption for employees.
Under present law, employees may object to vaccinations, immunizations, and other medical procedures on religious grounds except when medical treatment is necessary for the protection of the health and safety of others.
House Bill 10 removes the exception to the exemption of “medical treatment when necessary, for the protection of the health and safety of others” thereby eliminating any authorization or requirement of medical examination, immunization, or treatments when an employee objects on religious grounds.
Under present law, it is a Class C misdemeanor for a person to refuse to be vaccinated or prohibit another individual in that person’s control to be vaccinated when application is made by a health officer, board of health, or physician, except when the opinion of another physician says it would not be prudent on the sickness.
Additionally, under present law, it is Class C misdemeanor when physicians fraudulently give certificates of sickness or vaccines to prevent vaccination. This bill removes those penalties.
Also, under current law, there are various exceptions in place that override an individual’s objection on religious grounds to medical examinations, immunizations, or treatments. This bill creates an additional protection for individuals objecting on religious grounds.
HB 0010 is sponsored by Rep. Jay D Reedy, Erin (R) and co-sponsored by Republican Reps John Crawford (Kingsport), Todd Warner (Chapel Hill), Iris Rudder (Winchester), Scott Cepicky (Culleoka), Brandon Ogles (Franklin), Mark Hall (Cleveland), Kent Calfee (Kingston), Terri Lynn Weaver (Lancaster), and Clay Doggett (Pulaski).
The companion Tennessee Senate Bill (SB 0007) shares the same language and is sponsored by Senator Mark Pody, Lebanon (R) and co-sponsored by Republican Senators Frank S. Niceley (Strawberry Plains), Janice Bowling (Tullahoma), and Joey Hensley (Hohenwald).