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The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
A bill to protect the privacy and medical freedom of Tennessee residents is scheduled to be heard by the House Population Health Subcommittee this week.
In January, Rep. Bryan Richey (R-Maryville-District 20) introduced House Bill 0264 (HB0264) to prohibit “the requirement for certain immunizations if a person files a statement of religious objection to such immunizations.”
Rep. Jody Barrett (R-Dickson-District 69) is a co-prime sponsor of this legislation in the House and Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma-District 16) is backing the corresponding Senate Bill, SB1090.
According to the bill summary, this legislation would prevent governmental entities from “mandating that a person receive an immunization unless the entity provides an exemption to a person who files a signed, written statement that the immunization conflicts with the person’s religious tenets and practices, affirmed under penalty of perjury.”
The text goes on to clarify that when a person files a written statement of religious exemption, governmental entities cannot require any additional proof of the person’s religious convictions, such as verification from the person’s religious leader or church.
This section of the bill would also apply to religious exemptions from immunization for children attending schools, nursery schools, kindergartens, preschools, or child-care facilities of the state.
Considering the rise in denials of religious exemption requests in recent years, this seems to be an extremely important aspect of HB0264.
Present law on religious exemptions for children attending state schools or child-care facilities, includes language stating, “In absence of an epidemic or immediate threat of an epidemic.” Meaning that if the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the American Academy of Pediatrics deems an immunization necessary under the state of an “epidemic” or under “immediate threat of an epidemic”, that child’s religious exemption no longer matters, and they must get the required vaccine.
Rep. Richey’s proposed legislation would remove this language and put the power to make personal and religious medical decisions back into the hands of the people, right where it should be.
HB0264 is currently scheduled to be heard by the House Population Health Subcommittee this Tuesday, March 7th, 2023.
If you want to support this legislation, use the information provided below to contact the representatives on this subcommittee.
Rep. Michele Carringer (R) – Chair – email@example.com – (615) 741-1721
Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-4410
Rep. Andrew Farmer (R) – email@example.com – (615) 741-4419
Rep. Esther Helton-Haynes (R) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-1934
Rep. Caleb Hemmer (D) – email@example.com – (615) 741-2035
Rep. Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar (R) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-2860
Rep. Iris Rudder (R) – email@example.com – (615) 741-8695
Rep. Bryan Terry (R) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-2180
Rep. Ron Travis (R) – email@example.com – (615) 741-1450
Contact information for the bill sponsors is can also be found below.
Rep. Bryan Richey (R) – firstname.lastname@example.org – (615) 741-3560
Sen. Janice Bowling (R) – email@example.com – (615) 741-6694
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.