kerry roberts

Flirting with trouble? Roberts calls for special session on COVID-19 mandates

Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Sprinfield) speak on the Senate floor on Jan. 10, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) is calling on Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) to join the House in calling for a special session on COVID-19 mandates.

Roberts recently got a talking to from McNally for allowing his Government Operations Committee to veer into discussions about dissolving the state Department of Health and considering livestock dewormer ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

McNally has been resistant to holding a special session while the pandemic is worsening and has been skeptical of calls to limit private businesses’ options when it comes to their employees and customers.

Roberts is no stranger to going against leadership — sometimes to his own peril. After word got to then-Speaker Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) in 2011 that the freshman lawmaker was raising questions about whether the chamber needed a new leader, Roberts ended up finding himself drawn out of his district the following year in favor of controversial Sen. Jim Summerville (R-Dickson). Roberts defeated Summerville in the 2014 primary to return to the chamber.

Here’s the release from Roberts:

Nashville, Tennessee (September 15, 2021) – On Tuesday, State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) sent a letter to Lt. Governor Randy McNally requesting a special session take place of the Tennessee General Assembly. Roberts’ letter explains that numerous constituents have reached out requesting a special session.

In the letter, Roberts lays out six topics he suggests to be considered during a special session:

1. Prohibiting mask mandates in public buildings, schools, and universities

2. Recognizing acquired immunity or immunity from monoclonal antibodies as satisfying vaccine mandates

3. Prohibiting Bridgestone Arena and other venues receiving government funding from implementing vaccine requirements, mask mandates, or segregating attendees according to vaccination status

4. Placing the county health departments of Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan counties under the direct oversight of the General Assembly

5. Challenging federal overreach exercised by President Joe Biden related to vaccine mandates

5. Requiring Executive Orders issued during a State of Emergency lasting over 90 days to be reviewed by the Joint Committee for Government Operations for a positive or negative recommendation

A special session of the legislature is held in the interim between regular sessions. It is called for a specific number of days by the governor or upon petition of two-thirds of the members elected to each house. It is restricted to matters specifically enumerated in the call.

UPDATE: Similar letters have been written by Sens. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro), and Paul Rose (R-Covington).

Sen. Roberts released from hospital

Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) speak on the Senate floor on Jan. 10, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) has been released from the hospital after suffering an aneurysm. Here’s an update from the Senate Republican Caucus:

Senator Kerry Roberts has been released from Skyline Medical Center and is now at home. Although he will be on bed rest during the upcoming days, his medical team continues to anticipate a full recovery from the subarachnoid hemorrhage he experienced on October 9th.

Senator Roberts continues to express his appreciation for the encouraging messages and prayers for his recovery. He is also extremely grateful for the support shown to his wife, Dianne, and his children

Sen. Kerry Roberts hoping to be released from hospital next week

Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Sprinfield) speak on the Senate floor on Jan. 10, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

An update from the Senate Republican Caucus on the health status of state Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield), who suffered an aneurysm earlier this month:

Many of you have asked for an update regarding Senator Roberts related to the subarachnoid hemorrhage he experienced on Friday, October 9th. Senator Roberts remains in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit and continues to experience vasospasms, placing him at risk for a stroke and requiring him to be under careful monitoring. Wednesday marked the first day of significant decline in vasospasms. With further improvement, he is expected to be released as early as next week. His medical team continues to anticipate a full and complete recovery and his recovery timeline remains within expectations for a brain hemorrhage.

Sen. Roberts said, “I am very thankful for all of the prayers, calls, cards, and texts from those who have expressed their concerns. Due to the severity of headaches, I have not been able to take phone calls, text messages, and emails, except to communicate with family members who are not able to visit because of COVID-19 protocols. I have been touched by so many kind messages and look forward to responding soon.”

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.”