chamber of commerce

Tennessee Chamber weighs in on special session

The Tennessee Senate meets on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce is weighing in on next week’s special session called in response to federal mandates on COVID-19 vaccinations and masks.

Several GOP lawmakers are interested in enacting laws banning companies from requiring customers or employees to be vaccinated, a potential move raising flags with the Chamber.

“We do not believe government, at any level,  should unnecessarily interfere with health, safety and operational decisions of private businesses,” the Chamber said in a statement.

Here’s the full release:

As the Tennessee General Assembly returns for a special session to address COVID-19 related policies, the Tennessee Chamber looks forward to working with the Tennessee General Assembly. We hope to collaborate and work through their concerns to ensure legislation considered during the special session does not negatively impact our business climate or employers in our great state. We are thankful to our government leaders who have worked to set our state on a trend that has made Tennessee the best state in the nation for both economic growth and business regulations, especially during the recent pandemic. This has been achieved through a strong tradition of balancing and limiting government intervention into the operations of businesses. Tennessee businesses need the discretion, with limited government interference, to operate their business in a way they believe is most appropriate for their individual operations. 

Regarding federal vaccine mandates, in September, the Tennessee Chamber voiced concerns regarding announced OSHA emergency standards from the Biden administration which requires all employers of 100 or more to mandate and enforce employee COVID-19 vaccination and testing protocols. Our position has and will remain consistent at all levels of government. We do not believe government, at any level,  should unnecessarily interfere with health, safety and operational decisions of private businesses. We look forward to discussing this with our elected leaders in the Tennessee General Assembly who have expressed their commitment to ensuring that Tennessee remains one of the best states in the country to do business.

Sponsor denounces ‘misinformation’ on property assessment bill, withdraws measure from vote

Sen. Kerry Roberts blasted opponents of his bill to change property assessment appeals in comments on the Senate floor, but the Springfield Republican then withdrew the measure from a scheduled vote before the General Assembly goes into recess amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Business groups like the state Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independence Business had taken issue with effort to ram the bill through while the Capitol complex has been closed to lobbyists and advocates.

“For the past 24 hours there’s been tremendous amount of misinformation sent to members about this bill, claiming it would result in a tax increase,” Roberts said. “I want every member in this body to know exactly what they’re voting for, so I’m going to make a motion in a minute to send it back to Calendar, because I do anticipate we’re going to be back in session a little bit later in the year..

“As an inactive certified public accountant, I can tell you this is a very complicated issue, but there’s also a very good explanation and a very good reason for this,” he said. “And I want to have the opportunity to talk to each and every one of you, so when you cast your vote, you will fully understand that this issue is trying to solve.”