"I'm evaluating the best way to provide these protections for our businesses and that certainly includes a serious consideration of a special session," the Republican governor told reporters Tuesday.
Saying a special session is "a tool that's reserved for extraordinary circumstances," Lee added that "protecting
But Lee said that before he makes any decision "it's my hope that productive conversations will happen at the legislative level and those conversations will resume because they have to in order for there to be a successful session and a quick session."
It received 46 of the 50 votes required for passage, with a top Republican, Majority Leader
His and other House members' concerns focused on the bill's retroactive provision seeking to provide additional protection to entities dating back to
Critics charged it violated the Tennessee Constitution's Article 1, Section 20. It states: "That no retrospective law, or law impairing the obligations of contracts, shall be made."
But proponents argued a prior
After the bill failed, the
The death of both bills spurred a furious blast by Lt. Gov.
McNally charged later Friday that "the failure of the House to pass legislation protecting our state's businesses has created an opportunity for trial lawyers seeking a payday to disrupt our economy and put people out of work."
And in a blast at Lamberth and the bill sponsor,
"I would absolutely support a call for a special session by our governor for this issue and this issue alone," McNally added.
"So we put it up for a vote, tried to communicate and we were hopeful they would take up the telemedicine conference committee report, and at the end, they wouldn't even take it up for a vote," Sexton said.
In a statement issued later, Sexton said the House "was and remains fully prepared to work to provide critical protections for our businesses and for Tennesseans during the challenges resulting from COVID-19."
Sexton added that "I remain committed to working with them in the future for the benefit of the business community, as well as other institutions and the people of our state."
With Lee's office announcing Friday that he intended to speak on the issue this week, there was speculation that a deal might be in the offing involving the House passing the COVID-19 lawsuit bill or a less-ambitious version of it coupled with
After noting he continues to believe there is a "desire" for the COVID-19 partial civil immunity issue to move forward, Lee cited the need for discussion by top legislative leaders.
"Until those things happen, there's not much certainty about timing or specifics with regard to" his calling a special session, Lee said. "But it's certainly something we're willing to consider."
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