ALERT: Contact your state Senators and Representatives about Coronavirus legislation
This week, the Tennessee Senate and House will be in special session to consider extending broad immunity to businesses, schools and other establishments against possible lawsuit due to COVID-19. They will also be considering increasing penalties on peaceful protesters, an attack on our civil liberties of the freedom of assembly and speech. Please make your voice heard.
During the special session next week, I urge you to vote no on extending broad-based immunity to businesses, schools, and other establishments against possible lawsuits due to COVID-19 and to vote no on increasing penalties for peaceful protesters.
I am opposed to a special session to extend immunity because neither Congress nor the legislature in its last session passed these immunity measures for good reason: absolving businesses, schools, and other entities from liability from COVID -19 is likely to cause more deaths as these entities let down their guard and fail to take the critical steps needed to protect the public, students, teachers, and their workers. It is likely that these immunity measures could face constitutional challenges.
Protesting individuals should not damage property, but they can peacefully protest for redress of grievances. We do not need to violate the first amendment by arresting peaceful protesters; we have too many people in jail already. Again, increased penalties could surely lead the state into a constitutional challenge.
This special session needs to accomplish things that could SAVE lives in Tennessee and are vitally needed in a state that is among the top five in coronavirus cases. The extremely serious pandemic in Tennessee demands immediate action to SAVE LIVES NOW, including the following:
- Expand contact tracing in Tennessee. Experts estimate 30 contact tracers are needed for every 100,000 persons. States are using a wide variety of funding sources and are working with many agencies of state and local government, colleges, nonprofits and volunteers to educate on how to do contact tracing and to ramp it up.
- Join with the six other states on a bipartisan basis that are banding together to obtain rapid testing, a measure that is critical to saving lives. Instead of 5-10 or more days to get test results, they are available in 15-20 minutes
- Set up a statewide mask mandate. The county I live in refuses to institute a mask mandate even though every county around us has one. 34 states including Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama have one. Why don’t we?
- Pass a law to allow absentee voting for registered voters of any age concerned about contracting the coronavirus.
- Expand Medicaid. Hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans have no access to healthcare and more are losing it by the day. Studies show it will save money for states, not cost money, due to more federal dollars coming into the state.
I urge you to take these positive measures rather than granting immunity to businesses and other entities that will likely endanger Tennesseans. I urge you to take the lead on these lifesaving measures and reduce the spread of coronavirus in Tennessee that is making us one of the top five worst states in the nation.