A new bill would prohibit governors or mayors from requiring law enforcement to force closure of private businesses under executive orders. Additionally, the bill would bar these government officials from using law enforcement to restrict the right to peaceably assemble or freely travel.
The legislation noted that curfews issued by executive order would still be enforceable, as well as the ability for state and local agencies and departments to maintain their health inspection standards.
State Representative Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) first filed the bill on Tuesday, followed by a companion bill from State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) on Wednesday.
In a statement issued to The Tennessee Star, Hulsey explained that the bill reaffirms the constitutional provisions of checks and balances.
“The focus of this bill is to maintain adherence to the Tennessee Constitution in that there are three distinct branches of government. Neither is it to perform the responsibilities of the other,” stated Hulsey. “The executive branch is not charged with making the law, but rather the legislative branch. This bill deals with three Constitutional arenas. First, the right to go to work and earn a living. Second, the right to move about this state unencumbered by the government, and, third, the right to assemble for worship, or otherwise peaceably [assemble].”
Hulsey added that these unconstitutional measures place inappropriate burdens on law enforcement.
“When police power is used to enforce a law or edict out of the Executive branch of state or local government dealing with these three arenas, that is a form of fascism that our state constitution does not tolerate,” stated Hulsey. “Also, we should never put police officers in the position of acting in an unconstitutional manner. They either have to acquiesce, or refuse.”
Last fall, it was recorded that tens of thousands of businesses closed permanently nationwide due to pandemic-induced regulations and shutdowns.
The companion bills were passed on first consideration over the last few days.
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