Several state representatives and senators have proposed a bill to review the constitutionality of presidential executive orders. According to the bills, if Congress doesn’t affirm an executive order and isn’t signed into law, then the joint government operations committee of Tennessee’s General Assembly would review whether the order overextends its scope of authority. Upon concluding their review, the committee would decide whether to recommend the Tennessee Attorney General and governor to reexamine or seek an exemption from the order.
Additionally, the bill proposed that no state agency, political subdivision, elected officials, or government employees could enforce the order if the Tennessee Attorney General determines it is unconstitutional. That portion of the proposed bill would specifically apply to orders concerning pandemics or public health emergencies; natural resource regulations; agricultural industry regulations; land use regulations; financial regulations concerning environmental, social, or governance standards; and Second Amendment regulations.
A total of five legislators filed similar bills on the matter this week: State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) filed companion bills with both State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet) and State Representative Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill), and State Representative Mark Hall (R-Cleveland) and State Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) filed companion bills.
As of Thursday, Biden has signed over 50 executive orders, memorandums, and actions – 29 of which were executive orders. Some of these orders have caused friction with Tennessee’s state leaders and incited legislative action. During a press briefing on Wednesday, Governor Bill Lee criticized Biden’s order prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in sports.
“I will say that executive order is a tremendous overreach into the states – I will say that,” stated Lee. “I will also say that I do believe that transgenders participating in women’s sports will destroy women’s sports. It will ruin the opportunity for girls to earn scholarships. It will put a glass ceiling back over women that hasn’t been there in some time. I think it’s bad for women and for women’s sports.”
Lee was responding to an inquiry about a bill reported on by The Tennessee Star earlier this week. State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) introduced a bill requiring that students prove their biological sex from birth in order to participate in middle or high school sporting activities or events.
Several versions of the bill proposing a legislative committee review on executive orders have passed on first consideration thus far.
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