Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Friday extended the Limited State of Emergency, which has been in effect for more than a year, allowing a continuation of his emergency powers.
Further, the order from the governor allows National Guard troops to continue to assist in vaccination efforts and other “certain health care” functions throughout the state. The order also allows the state to maintain federal compliance.
In the executive order, Lee based the reason for extending the directive was to “facilitate economic and other recovery, and to maintain federal compliance and eligibility.”
The declaration, originally scheduled to end July 30, will now expire on August 29 — assuming Lee does not issue an additional extension.
However, some critics argue that Lee’s executive orders throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic are an example of a dramatic expansion of government.
State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) cited concerns of “government over-reach” earlier this year when requesting a legal opinion from the Tennessee Attorney General as to the constitutionality and authority of Lee’s various orders.
“Moreover, when I took my oath of office, I swore to not only support the Tennessee Constitution but also to not consent to any act or thing that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge the rights and privileges of the people of this state as declared by the Constitution of this State. I intend to uphold my oath of office, and defend the Constitutional rights of Tennesseans and protect them from government over-reach,” Griffey said at the time.
Furthermore, Lee has faced lawsuits relating to his numerous orders.
Tennessee Stands highlighted the perceived unconstitutionality in their lawsuit against Lee, saying Lee’s orders “illegal and unconstitutional and must be declared void.” The group explained the extended powers violates several Articles and Sections of the Tennessee Constitution.
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