Governor Lee Calls Special Session for Tennessee General Assembly

August 13, 2020

The Tennessee General Assembly returned Aug. 10-12 for a Special Session called by Governor Bill Lee to address three issues: COVID-19 liability protection, telehealth services, and laws governing the Capitol grounds.

The COVID-19 Liability protection bill was the primary reason for reconvening the legislature after its failure to pass during the 111th General Assembly. The measure, dubbed the Tennessee COVID-19 Recovery Act, was debated in June, but failed to gain votes for passage in the House. The legislation provides immunity from civil liability for loss, damages, injury, or death arising from COVID-19, unless a claimant proves by clear and convincing evidence that there was gross negligence or willful misconduct. The bill is designed to give businesses, nonprofits, and schools the certainty needed to reopen. The amendment that makes this bill can be viewed here.

Another item, SB 8007 / HB 8008, was introduced by Democratic lawmakers to deem COVID-19 to be an occupational disease for purposes of the Workers' Compensation Law. This measure was unsuccessful in committee.

All three measures introduced by the Governor and Republicans were passed, and the legislature adjourned until the start of the 112th General Assembly in January 2021.

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