NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — State lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prohibit local and state authorities from forcing a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Hulsey said the purpose of the bill is to calm fears of mandatory vaccinations and to “claw back a little piece of constitutional integrity.”
“When people look at what’s happened in the United States in the last 12 months, they’ve seen government do things all across this country that have never, ever happened in the history of the United States,” Hulsey told the committee. “And it scares them…and they have every right to be afraid.”
The committee voted to add an amendment authored by the Tennessee Hospital Association to exempt health care facilities from the bill, which Hulsey opposed.
“If you put the amendment on this bill, you make a hypocrite out of me,” Hulsey said. “You force me to talk out of both sides of my mouth…out of one side of my mouth I say, ‘Government can’t use force to force somebody to take a COVID-19 vaccine,’ but out of the other side of my mouth I say, ‘Except hospitals.'”
Rep. Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar (R-Springfield) raised concerns about the bill having an anti-vaccination sentiment.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer,” Hulsey responded.
Hulsey also pointed out that his legislation applies to government, not to private businesses.
The House bill will appear before the full Health Committee next Wednesday.
The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), has been referred to the Health and Welfare Committee.