The two chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly met Wednesday in floor session for less than an hour to organize for the Third Extraordinary Session of the 112th General Assembly, which will focus on COVID-related issues.

Special Session III was called on October 19 by Tennessee’s Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally and Speaker of the House of Representatives Cameron Sexton in response to the written request of two-thirds of the members of each house, even as legislators were engaged in the Second Extraordinary Session called by Governor Bill Lee taking up $884 million in taxpayer giveaways for Ford Motor Company’s $5.6 billion electric vehicle project to be located on the Memphis Regional Megasite known as “Blue Oval City.”

Both chambers adopted rules, based upon on the standard rules of procedure, but tailored for the truncated timing of a special session related to the scheduling of when bills can be heard.

While McNally kept in place the Senate’s standing committees, with the exception of Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) who temporarily stepped down from his role as chair of the Education Committee as he deals with allegations of federal campaign finance violations, Sexton established eight committees specifically for the third extraordinary session.

Banking – Rebecca Alexander (R-Jonesborough), Rush Bricken (R-Tullahoma), Curtis Halford (R-Dyer), G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis), Torrey Harris (D-Memphis), Tim Hicks (R-Gray), Darren Jernigan (D-Nashville), Eddie Mannis (R-Knoxville), Vice Chair Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon), Chair Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro)

COVID-19 Committee – Dale Carr (R-Sevierville), Michele Carringer (R-Knoxville), Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis), Tandy Darby (R-Greenfield), Rick Eldridge (R-Morristown), Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), Mark Hall (R-Cleveland), Jason Hodges (D-Clarksville), Dan Howell (R-Cleveland), Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport), Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville), William Lamberth (R-Portland), Jason Potts (R-Nashville), Iris Rudder (R-Winchester), Paul Sherrell (R-Sparta), Dwayne Thompson (D-Cordova), Chris Todd (R-Madison County), Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill), Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville), Vice Chair Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), Chair Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville)

Elections – Scotty Campbell (R-Mountain City), Glen Casada (R-Franklin), Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), Vincent Dixie (D-Nashville), Clay Doggett (R-Pulaski), Justin Lafferty (R-Knoxville), Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville), Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville), Vice Chair Dave Wright (R-Corryton), Chair Jerome Moon (R-Maryville)

Executive Orders – Kent Calfee (R-Kingston), Jesse Chism (D-Memphis), John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville), “Doc” Kumar (R-Springfield), Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet), Debra Moody (R-Covington), Brando Ogles (R-Franklin), Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis), Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro), Mike Stewart (D-Nashville), Vice Chair Tom Leatherwood (R-Arlington), Chair Mary Littleton (R-Dickson)

Finance Ways & Means – Charlie Baum (R-Murfreesboro), Scotty Campbell (R-Mountain City), Karen Camper (D-Memphis), Jessie Chism, (D-Memphis), Mark Cochran (R-Englewood), John Crawford (R-Bristol/Kingsport), Ron Gant (R-Rossville), Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), Esther Helton (R-East Ridge), Dan Howell (R-Cleveland), London Lamar (D-Memphis), William Lamberth (R-Portland), Larry Miller (D-Memphis), Debra Moody (R-Covington), Lowell Russell (R-Vonore), Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar), Greg Vital (R-Harrison), Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), John Mark Windle (D-Livingston), Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville), Vice Chair Gary Hicks (R-Rogersville), Chair Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain)

Public Health – David Byrd (R-Waynesboro), Ron Gant (R-Rossville), John Gillespie (R-Memphis), Kirk Haston (R-Lobelville), John Holsclaw (R-Elizabethton), Kelly Kiesling (R-Byrdstown), Harold Love (D-Nashville), Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) , Sam McKenzie (D-Knoxville), Jason Powell (D-Nashville), Robin Smith (R-Hixson), Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), Joe Towns (D-Memphis), Kevin Vaughn (R-Collierville), Mark White (R-Memphis), Sam Whitson (R-Franklin), Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville), Vice Chair David Hawk (R-Greenville), Chair Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro)

Judiciary – Bill Beck (D-Nashville), Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville), Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), Yusuf Hakeem (D-Chattanooga), Chris Hurt (R-Halls), Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville), London Lamar (D-Memphis), John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), Jay Reedy (R-Erin), Ron Travis (R-Dayton), Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster), Vice Chair Lowell Russell (R-Vonore), Chair Michael Curcio (R-Dickson)

Calendar & Rules – Karen Camper (R-Memphis), Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville), Bob Freeman, (D-Nashville), Ron Gant (R-Rossville), Rusty Grills (R-Newbern), Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Hill), Dan Howell (R-Cleveland), William Lamberth (R-Portland), Mary Littleton (R-Dickson), Harold Love (D-Nashville), Jerome Moon (R-Maryville), Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro), Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar), Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), Chris Todd (R-Madison County), Mark White (R-Memphis), John Mark Windle (D-Livingston), Vice Chair Tandy Darby (R-Greenfield), Chair Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville)

The composition of the House Public Health Committee of the Third Extraordinary Session is, for all intents and purposes, completely different than the Health and Safety Committee of the Second Extraordinary Session, which overwhelmingly passed along party lines a heavily-amended version of HB8003, which sought to deal with many of the issues being taken up in this week’s special session.

As of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 84 bills were filed in the Senate and 82 bills were filed in the House along with 26 Senate joint resolutions, 13 House joint resolution and 5 Senate resolutions, the full list of which can be viewed here.

Nine of the House bills are without a Senate sponsor, while 11 of the Senate bills are without a House sponsor. With a Wednesday at 6 p.m. filing deadline in the Senate, it is unlikely that the House bills without a Senate sponsor will be able to advance.

Many of the bill descriptions appear to be duplicative of other bills, but could still be amended to different effects.

A total of nine bills were filed by McNally and Sexton, appearing to deal with many of the same topics as those filed by members.

Additionally, the two speakers filed companion joint resolutions SJR9005 and HJR9005 condemning the effective taxation of Tennesseans resulting from federal overreach in enforcing unconstitutional COVID mandates or restrictions and requirements. The resolution urges the state’s attorney general to initiate or intervene in one or more civil actions or, alternatively, seek relief in federal court.

McNally, as recently as last month, held the position that the General Assembly could not pass any state law that would make President Joe Biden’s executive order relative to vaccine mandates for employers with 100 or more employees any more unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn says that she is constantly hearing from constituents that workers are being threatened with losing their jobs over Biden’s mandates.

“Every day I hear from law enforcement officers, first responders, airline personnel, healthcare professionals and retail workers in the Volunteer State who are facing an impossible choice: either comply with the Biden administration’s sweeping vaccine mandate or lose their livelihood,” Blackburn said in an on-line statement.

A full slate of committee meetings has been scheduled for both chambers on Thursday, the details for which can be viewed here.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News.