Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order late last week regarding the state’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some people worry it infringes upon basic liberties.
Among other things, Lee’s executive order permits more flexibility in behavioral health care to relieve capacity strain and allows medical laboratory directors to monitor facilities remotely. But the order also gives the state government discretion to use the National Guard in connection with certain health care and emergency services operations.
Lee’s executive order also permits telephone assessments for involuntary commitment cases, and it also allows for the construction of temporary quarantine and isolation facilities.
Members of Lee’s staff did not respond to The Tennessee Star’s request for comment Monday.
Tennessee Stands spokesman Gary Humble told followers by email this week that Lee’s executive order “seems to fall right in line with the plans of the Biden Administration and sets the table in Tennessee for a healthritocracy (I totally made this word up) to literally take over state government and completely obliterate individual liberties here in our state.”
Tennessee Stands, according to its website, calls on state and local officials “to restore our constitutional republic.”
“I strongly encourage everyone to read this executive order in its entirety and draw your own conclusions. A good portion of the EO simply addresses the need for any increased hospital capacity and allows for more healthcare workers to enter the workforce if necessary,” Humble wrote.
“But there are other portions of the order that are incredibly problematic and a clear indication that our Tennessee government is fully prepared and willing to completely throw the Constitution out of the window if it feels that it is justified in doing so in the name of public health. It would be prudent for the General Assembly to convene and call itself into session and reign in this Governor-Gone-Wild. I for one am unwilling to just wait and see how this all plays out.”
Tennessee State Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) said Sunday that if he and other state legislators hold a special session, then they should consider restraining the governor’s emergency powers.
Griffey said legislators should take up the governor’s authority to declare and extend public health emergencies. The governor can do this without oversight by the Tennessee General Assembly.
– – –