Gov. Lee signs COVID-19 liability measure into law

Bill Lee

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee removes his mask as he begins a news conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee has signed into law sweeping protections for businesses, schools and nursing homes against coronavirus lawsuits.

Lee on Monday touted the legislation as “historic” and argued the law would protect businesses from “frivolous lawsuits.”

The GOP-dominated Statehouse failed to advance the proposal earlier this year when negotiations among lawmakers broke down in the hectic waning hours of legislative work.

Lee later convened a special legislative session to not only address COVID-19 liability, but also telemedicine and penalties against protesters who violate certain laws.

Under Lee’s leadership, Tennessee was one of the first states to begin reopening in late April after the Republican reluctantly issued a safer-at-home order that forced businesses to close.

Lee has since maintained he will not shut down the economy and has resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate.

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