Part of my job as a legislator is to serve as a resource for the people I represent. Each day, I hear from citizens in the 40th House District who are facing a distressing choice: either comply with President Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates or lose their livelihoods.

Our economy and the jobs of millions of American workers now stands at risk, thanks to the President’s absurd mandate of private businesses to require proof of vaccination of their employees. This is an egregious violation of the 10th Amendment, the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers and an abuse of basic human rights.

Wisely, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Nov. 12 ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to suspend its enforcement of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses until further court order.

This issue will likely end up at the front porch of the U.S. Supreme Court soon enough. Make no mistake: if this President is allowed to deny Americans their basic right to make personal health decisions for themselves, he will take other rights away as well.

The people of the Volunteer State do not like to be bullied. That is why the General Assembly responded to countless constituent calls and emails from around the state on this issue. We passed legislation in a recent special session that concluded on Oct. 30 to make Tennessee the first state in the nation to pass a comprehensive COVID-19 protection bill that pushes back against the Biden Administration’s federal overreach.

The Tennessee Republican supermajority prohibited governmental entities and schools from requiring masks, except for in severe conditions.

We banned government and private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination for any reason. This includes an employer taking any adverse action against an employee, which includes loss of employment, promotions, privileges or rights. Federal contractors who have binding agreements with the federal government are exempt.

Tennessee parents in recent months have voiced serious concerns over the Mature Minor Doctrine law, which permitted health care providers to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to minors without parental consent. Republicans passed legislation requiring health care providers to get written consent from a legal guardian before vaccinating a child against the COVID-19 virus.

We established health care standards of practice related to quarantine guidelines, treatment and end-of-life care. The new law removes the authority to contact trace and quarantine from our local governments and places the sole authority on the Tennessee Commissioner of Health. This will streamline oversight across the state.

Our new law prohibits any government agency from prioritizing monoclonal antibodies to any group.

Health care providers must exercise independent professional judgment when determining whether to recommend, prescribe, offer or administer monoclonal antibodies to any patient they believe needs it.

Tennessee hospitals may not restrict patients from having at least one close family member present during their stay as long as the family member tests negative for COVID-19.

States must continue to act as a shield between the federal government and the people. I can assure you that my Republican colleagues and I will never back down when it comes to protecting your freedoms and personal liberties. We must remain vigilant for when the Biden Administration’s next executive order threatens to trample on the rights of Americans. I stand ready to take every measure possible on behalf of Tennesseans.

God blessed America from the beginning and he blesses us still. I pray we always work hard to protect her and never lose hope in all that is yet to be in this great nation of ours. I am so very thankful for the honor and privilege to serve the people of the 40th House District. May God bless you and God bless Tennessee.

Terri Lynn Weaver lives in Lancaster and serves the 40th District in the Tennessee House of Representatives, which includes Smith, Trousdale and part of Sumner and Dekalb counties.

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