Tennessee Republican lawmakers warn schools not to push COVID-19 vaccine to students absent parental consent

This Jan. 8, 2020, photo shows the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE - After successfully pressuring Republican Gov. Bill Lee's administration and state health officials to back away from encouraging minors to seek coronavirus vaccines without parental permission, two top GOP lawmakers on Wednesday redirected their focus to Tennessee schools and universities.

"To anyone bullying, bribing, shaming or cajoling an individual into taking the vaccine, I strongly urge you to consult with your legal counsel for potential violations of federal law," asserted Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, as he read from a joint statement with his House counterpart, Chairman John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge.

Democrats, who weren't allowed to speak, later charged there are no federal violations and criticized both Roberts and Ragan for not allowing them to speak during the hearing nor permitting physicians wanting to testify in support of COVID-19 vaccinations.