Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands to the newsmaker line to give his review and opinion on last week’s Tennessee General Assembly special session.
(Bill Lee clip plays)
Leahy: And that’s Governor Bill Lee talking about one of the provisions of the COVID-19 omnibus bill that was passed. I think it was one of the provisions having to do with the new rules about implementing mask mandates at schools.
Lots of constraints there. We are joined on our newsmaker line by our good friend Gary Humble from Tennessee Stands. I want to see Gary, if you could give us a report card for this special session. Welcome.
Humble: Hey, good morning to you. Oh, God a report card. Look for right now for the protection that it affords Tennessee today, I’ll give them a C+. But here in a year and a half, they’ll earn themselves an F.
Leahy: It’s interesting because when you were on Friday, you wanted to give them a C, but you were feeling a D. Now you give them a C+.
Elaborate a little bit on why you gave them a C+. What specific elements in the omnibus bill did you give them a C+ grade for?
Humble: The good piece, the reason they don’t get a failing grade is that for right now and this is what they’ll tell you in their “rights” for most Tennesseeans are protected under this law in terms of not being forced to have a vaccine for COVID as a condition of employment for the most part.
Leahy: This is the law that was included in the omnibus bill.
Humble: This is specifically the omnibus bill that deals with masks, vaccines, and COVID-related issues.
Leahy: This is not in law yet because as you just heard from the governor, he’s still reviewing whether he’s going to sign it or not.
Humble: He has constitutionally minus Sundays, ten days to do so. If in those ten days, he does not either send it back to the General Assembly or veto it, the bill will become law automatically by November 11th.
Leahy: I didn’t really get a good indication of whether he liked it or not from that clip.
Humble: That was an interesting clip. I’m glad you played it. I have not heard that. That was my first time hearing the governor’s comment on the legislation, minus the Facebook post he made congratulating them on a great job. It’s kind of 50/50 for me.
I don’t know if they’ll sign it or not. But for the most part, Tennesseeans are protected right now, except if you are an employee of a federal contractor or a college that receives federal grant money for research or a hospital subject to Medicaid Medicare. At any point in time, if the Biden regime decides that you need to be forcibly shot with this vaccine…
Leahy: I love the way you phrase it. (Laughs) Forcibly shot with a vaccine.
Humble: You’ve got to bow the knee to Uncle Joe. That’s our law right now versus Montana, who said no way, no ho. And their governor released a letter last week telling the federal government this is the law in Montana, and you can shove it. And there’s no exemptions here in Montana.
Leahy: Was that the exact phrase he used? You can shove it?
Humble: Yeah, that’s what he said.
Leahy: (Laughter) Well, I like his blunt language.
Humble: Me, too. I’d love a governor like that. To me, it’s abominable for me personally that we went into session declaring and the bill says so that we’re going to secure constitutional liberties for the citizens of Tennessee.
And at the end of the day, we determined, number one, that citizens only deserve that constitutional security for a year and a half, because this whole thing expires on July 1st, 2023. So we’re going to secure your constitutional liberty, but only for a year and a half.
Leahy: I didn’t see that. This expires on July 1st, 2023. Why?
Humble: The entire bill expires July 1st, 2023. Why? That’s a great question. I don’t know. According to Jason Zachary, who’s still running around on Facebook declaring a victory over this thing, he said, that’s totally normal. That’s because we don’t know what COVID is going to be like. And that termination date forces the General Assembly to come back and review the legislation.
I don’t understand why you need to review, providing what you’ve acknowledged as constitutional liberty or constitutional security of that liberty. But apparently, they need to review that in a year and a half.
Leahy: One of the things that I thought was a little troubling is on your agenda that you put out originally on this said that the Tennessee General Assembly should eliminate the ability of the governor to continuously declare for, like, now 20 months, a state of emergency.
They passed something about timelines, but it seemed to be not very significant. They changed the number of days the governor could declare an emergency from 60 to 45. But they didn’t limit his ability to kind of renew that. What’s your reaction to that element of this special session?
Humble: Exactly right. We got absolutely nothing. Essentially, the governor just has to renew the emergency more often than he did before. At this point, you got to get creative.
It’s like maybe we can fix this emergency by passing a bill that bans pins in the governor’s office. If you ban pins, you can’t sign the executive order, right?
Leahy: I think you’ve got a little bit of a touch of sarcasm there Gary this morning.
Humble: I don’t know what else to do. There was one bill run by Representative Deborah Moody, and that was sort of making its way through the House. It would have limited the emergency to 21 days.
The legislature would have had to renew the emergency after 21 days. That would have been phenomenal. And it also stated that executive orders could not limit gatherings, closed churches or closed businesses.
Leahy: What happened to that legislation? That sounds reasonable to me.
Humble: It got killed in the Senate. So they decided that they weren’t having it. They weren’t going to address the emergency.
Leahy: That’s troublesome to me. I mean, are we in a permanent state of emergency that just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling that allows the executive branch at the state level and the federal level to do pretty much what they want to, regardless of constitutional guarantees of individual rights.
Humble: That’s right. We’ve been seeing that from day one. I mean, we filed a lawsuit in 2020 against the governor against the state of Tennessee on that premise, essentially saying that this whole deal, where the governor can in and of himself renew emergency powers and make law and delegate authority is unconstitutional.
And we’re in appeals. We’re in appeals still trying to get standing. That’s just still wrapped up in court. Why? Because as much as the legislature doesn’t want to deal with it, the courts don’t want to deal with it, either.
So to be quite honest, I don’t know when we’re going to get this resolved in Tennessee. But, yes, we’re still in a perpetual state of emergency, and there’s no end in sight.
Leahy: If you look into your crystal ball, what do you think the governor is going to do? Is he going to sign this omnibus legislation or not?
Humble: I think at this point, probably in the eyes of most Tennesseeans with the immediate protections it does afford. I think it would look pretty bad on him not to sign it. I expect him to sign it.
I certainly don’t expect him not to sign it on the principle that it expires in 2023 and he wants more for Tennessee. I expect him to sign it. It does what they wanted to do for right now.
I guess in 2023, the General Assembly is going to have to come back and determine if you still get rights over your own body and medical treatment. That remains to be seen.
Leahy: Gary Humble with Tennessee stands always on point, always representing strong individual liberty and conservative point. Gary, thanks so much for joining us.
Humble: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
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