Governor Bill Lee on Friday announced that he will not renew Tennessee’s state of emergency order that has remained in place over the last 20 months.
The order, which will expire on Friday night, awarded the governor a continuation of his emergency powers in an effort to fight the coronavirus.
“I am not renewing the COVID-19 state of emergency that expires tonight. For almost 20 months, this tool has provided deregulation & operational flexibility for hospitals & industries most affected by COVID’s challenges,” Lee said in a tweet.
Should our state face any future surges, we will consider temporarily reinstating this tool, but in the meantime, we are evaluating opportunities for permanent deregulation.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) November 19, 2021
However, Lee did not rule out utilizing the tool in the future, if the state experiences a large wave of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations
“Should our state face any future surges, we will consider temporarily reinstating this tool, but in the meantime, we are evaluating opportunities for permanent deregulation,” the governor continued.
Just two weeks ago, Lee extended the measure, citing the recent special session and that he would “continue analyzing impacts of recent legislation & how it affects certain provisions.”
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.
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