Oak Ridge National Laboratory Employees Say They Received No Help from Gov. Bill Lee or Legislators When They Were Punished for Declining COVID-19 Shot

Three Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) employees have come forward to say they will not take the COVID-19 shot, and, subsequently, their employer has forced them into unpaid leave. The ORNL employees have taken the matter to federal court.

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Bill Lee Office Not Saying How Media Rapidly Obtained Email from Within His Office Warning Against New Tennessee COVID-19 Law

A new Tennessee law prohibits COVID-19 mask mandates in schools, but Governor Bill Lee’s legislative counsel warned in a recent and now heavily publicized email that the law violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Legislative Counsel Liz Alvey sent the email October 30. The AP obtained Alvey’s email through a public records request.

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Tennessee National Guard Says It Will Not Follow Oklahoma and Resist DOD Vaccine Mandate; Gov. Lee Silent

The head of the Oklahoma National Guard won’t require his troops to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but Tennessee National Guard (TNG) troops should not expect their superiors to follow the Oklahoma’s commander’s lead.

TNG spokesman Darrin Haas said Monday that his commanders will enforce Biden’s vaccine mandate.

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Resolution to Potentially Nullify Federal COVID Mandates Now on Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s Desk

Along with the seven bills that passed Tennessee’s Legislature during its recent COVID-19 related special session, a joint resolution also passed both chambers of the legislature and sits on Gov. Bill Lee’s desk.

While the bills become law if Lee signs them, “resolutions differ from bills in that they do not become law but simply serve to express the views of the majority of one or both houses of the Legislature.”

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Gary Humble of Tennessee Stands Grades Tennessee’s General Assembly Special Session

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee Stands, Gary Humble to the newsmakers line to discuss the Omnibus legislation from last weeks special session.

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Governor Bill Lee Awards Purple Heart to Special Agent Joe Frye

On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee awarded Tennessee Department of Correction Special Agent Joe Frye with the U.S. Marshals Service Purple Heart. On November 2, 2020, Frye was shot multiple times on duty in an attempt to capture fugitive Bobby Joe Claybrook. Once Joe was shot, he was immobile, but now has fully recovered from the incident.

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Official Guest Host Grant Henry Questions the Integrity of the Administration Oversight Board for New Ford Mega Site

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed official guest host Grant Henry in studio to weigh in on the integrity of the administrative oversight board for the new Ford Motor Mega Site.

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Tennessee Stands Releases Priorities for Special Legislative Session

Members of the Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands on Sunday published their priorities for a presumed special session of the state’s general assembly, and certain priorities address government overreach in the age of COVID-19. “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed ranging from mandates to education to elections, immigration and the list goes on. But we have to be realistic,” said Tennessee Stands spokesman Gary Humble, in an email to supporters.

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Tennessee State Rep. Bruce Griffey Blasts Threats from ‘Medical Nazis’ and Financial Elite over COVID-19 Mandates

Tennessee State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) said this week that “history (and Tennessee voters) will not be kind (and will have harsh ridicule) for those in favor of [COVID-19] vaccine mandates.” Griffey, in an emailed statement to the press, said, in his opinion, COVID-19 vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus. But also said state officials must give Tennesseans a choice and educate them about the vaccine’s effectiveness.

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Grant’s Rants: The Need for a Balance of Both Church and State

Church out in the field

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Grant Henry for another edition of Grant’s Rants calling for an equal balance of church and state, government and humanities.

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Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn Call for Review of State Education Funding Formula

On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn invited Tennesseans to participate in the full review of the state’s education funding formula and explore possibilities for a more student-centered approach.

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New Tennessee License Plates Unveiled Following Statewide Vote

On Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee unveiled the state’s next standard license plate design chosen by Tennesseans through optional statewide participation. The new plate sports a navy blue background with white letters and numbers. In its center is the state’s Tri-Star emblem with the words “The Volunteer State” in the top left corner.

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Wilson County School Board Votes to Extend Mask Mandate

In September, the Wilson County School Board approved a temporary mask mandate for students, teachers, and staff in the entire school system. The mandate expired on October 4th which led the school board to vote on whether to extend it or not during their meeting Monday night.

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Smith & Wesson Headquarters Coming to Tennessee

On Thursday, firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson announced that they were moving their headquarters and significant elements of their operations from Springfield, Massachusetts to Maryville, Tennessee in 2023, creating 750 new jobs in Blount County. The move to Tennessee is an investment worth more than $125 million.

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Parents Sue Williamson County Schools to Dismiss Mask Mandate Altogether

On Wednesday, September 22nd, a group of parents in Williamson County sued the county school system over its mask mandate that impacts students, staff, and faculty. The lawsuit, which was filed by four parents, asks for the federal court to set aside the mask mandate and declares the policy is unconstitutional.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Declines to Say Whether He Will Purchase Monoclonal Antibodies Directly from Private Vendor

Staff for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Friday would not say whether he will follow the lead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and purchase thousands of monoclonal antibody treatments directly from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). GlaxoSmithKiline manufactures the monoclonal antibody treatments.

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State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson: ‘Any Provider Who Wants to Prescribe Monoclonal Antibody Treatment to Someone Who Has Been Vaccinated Can Do So’

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson to the newsmakers line to weigh in on the confusion regarding monoclonal antibody treatment in Tennessee.

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State Representative Scott Cepicky Weighs in on Tennessee Department of Health Commissioners Monoclonal Antibody Guidelines

Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Tennessee State Representative Scott Cepicky to the newsmakers line to discuss monoclonal antibody guidelines, calling a special session, and circumventing the federal government.

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Two Big Pharmaceutical Companies Sell Monoclonal Antibodies to Federal Government Only, Refuse to Sell to Hospitals or States

Officials with two pharmaceutical companies who produce monoclonal antibody treatments said Wednesday that the U.S. government distributes the currently-available supply of those treatments and that those companies may not sell them to hospitals or state governments. A spokesman for the New York state-based Regeneron, who identified himself only as Alex, said the U.S. government owns the currently available supply of REGEN-COV, which is the company’s monoclonal antibody treatment. The U.S. government allocates that product to state governments.

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Williamson County Schools Will Make Students Wear Masks in School Buildings Until Mid-January

On Monday, during a routine school board meeting, the Williamson County Board of Education voted to extend the temporary mask requirement for students, staff and visitors at all grade levels, inside all buildings and on buses, through January 19, 2022.

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Gov. Bill Lee Not Saying What Options Tennessee Has if Arriving Afghan Refugees Remain Unvetted

Governor Bill Lee’s staff would not say Saturday what measures he or other state officials could take if Afghan refugees relocate to Tennessee without the feds scrutinizing them first for health or security risks. Members of Lee’s communications team did not return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment before Saturday’s stated deadline.

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Tennessee State Senator Dawn White Seeks Special Session on President Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

On Monday, Tennessee State Senator Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) sent a letter to Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate Randy McNally asking for a special session in response to President Joe Biden’s executive order on vaccine mandates.

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Tennessee Governor Lee Appoints Blake Neill to Serve as 25th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge

On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appointed A. Blake Neill to serve as circuit court judge for the 25th Judicial District to fill the Honorable Joe H. Walker III’s vacancy, effective immediately, according to a news release from Lee’s office.

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Report: Nearly 300 Afghan Refugees En Route to Nashville

Roughly 300 Afghan refugees are headed for Nashville, but one of the organizations taking them in refused to say Monday whether someone or some entity is vetting those refugees for health or security risks. Staff at the Islamic Center of Nashville did not return The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment Monday.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Gets New Democrat Challenger as 2022 Race Inches Closer

JB Smiley Jr. and Gov. Bill Lee

On Wednesday, Memphis City Council member JB Smiley Jr. announced he is running for Tennessee Governor. Smiley, a Democrat, held an event at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis and posted a video on social media debuting his announcement. 

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Crom Carmichael: ‘Joe Biden’s Definition of Unity Is About Bending the Knee’

Joe Biden

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed All-Star Panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to weigh in on Joe Biden’s idea of unity for America.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Pushes Back Against Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee this week announced he will fight U.S. President Joe Biden’s stricter and newly-announced COVID-19 vaccine requirements. “To be clear: the vaccine is the best tool we have to combat the pandemic but heavy-handed mandates are the wrong approach,” Lee tweeted Thursday.

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Gov. Bill Lee Silent on Additional Afghan Refugees Relocating to Tennessee

The Tennessee-based Bridge Refugee Services is preparing to accept more Afghan refugees and send them to East Tennessee. The Tennessee Star twice on Wednesday contacted Governor Bill Lee’s communications’ staff to ask for comment and to ask what action, if any, he deemed necessary to respond to new Afghan refugees.

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Crom Carmichael Unwinds Shelby County Lawsuit Against Lee’s Executive Order Citing Sly State Law

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to discuss the course events of Shelby County’s mask mandate lawsuit against Governor Lee.

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Governor Bill Lee ‘Heartbroken’ on Death of East Tennessee Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Terrorist Attack

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee commented Saturday evening on the death of Ryan Knauss, an East Tennessean who was one of the 13 American service members killed in a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan last week “Maria and I are heartbroken and mourning the loss of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, a Tennessean who was killed in the tragic terrorist attack on Kabul. On behalf of all Tennesseans, we offer our full support in the difficult days ahead,” Lee tweeted Saturday.

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Shelby County Sues Gov. Bill Lee over Mask Executive Order

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee

Shelby County has announced a lawsuit against Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) over his executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of mask mandates. The county says that the order puts children at risk of contracting COVID and even dying.

The complaint, filed Tuesday, says that “Governor Lee’s executive order makes the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools impossible.” The lawsuit opens by stating that Shelby County is in the middle of a “global pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen in over a century.”

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More COVID-19 Policies on Thursday’s Williamson County School Board Meeting Agenda

Members of the Williamson County School (WCS) Board have scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to discuss COVID-19 response strategies related to health and staffing. According to the WCS website, the board meeting will commence at 6 p.m., Thursday, August 26, at the Williamson County Administrative Complex at 1320 West Main Street in Franklin.

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Political Commentator Jeri Thompson Joins Host Leahy in Studio to Discuss Mask Mandates and Bill Lee’s Executive Order

Jeri Thompson

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed American radio talk show host and political commentator, Jeri Thompson in studio to discuss mask mandates imposed by local school boards and the challenge facing Governor Bill Lee’s executive order.

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Nashville Schools Send Out Robocalls Telling Parents They Will Defy Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order

In spite of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s executive order, Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) officials have sent out robocalls to parents to tell them they may not opt their child out of COVID-19 mask mandates. The Tennessee Star obtained a recording of a robocall that MNPS officials sent out this week.

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Bill Lee Won’t Say Whether He Wants Afghan Refugees in Tennessee, but Other Powerful GOP Politicians Have Spoken

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has not publicly stated whether he wants the state to take in Afghan refugees, but two of the state’s other top Republicans on Friday made their opinions known. Lee did not return two requests for comment Friday.

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Nashville Mayor John Cooper Backs School Defiance of Governor Lee’s Mask Opt-Out Executive Order

John Cooper

Nashville Mayor John Cooper backs school defiance of Governor Lee’s (R) executive order allowing parents to opt their kids out of mask mandates. Cooper called the order “disappointing.” The order follows the Nashville Metro Public Schools (MNPS) board voting to mandate masks in classrooms less than two weeks ago. As reported by The Tennessee Star, over 1,000 individuals signed a letter asking the Nashville Metro Public Schools to instate a mask mandate for the 2021 school year.

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Governor Bill Lee Claims ‘Our Executive Order Gives the School District Authority to Impose a Mandate, but Gives the Parent the Ability to Opt Out’

On Tuesday Governor Bill Lee told Clay Travis and Buck Sexton on their nationally syndicated radio program, “our executive order actually gives the school district the authority to impose a mandate, but it gives the parent the ability to opt out of that if they choose it.” “I have always been a really strong believer that parents know best what their children need. So I’m a parent. I raised four kids, got eight grandkids. No one knows their kid like the parent. No one cares about their children more than their parents, and so in the middle of all of this covid world that we’re living in, which is people,” Lee told Travis when asked about Executive Order No. 84, signed by the governor on Monday.

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Tennessee Lt. Gov. McNally Warns Davidson and Shelby Counties on Mask Opt-Outs: General Assembly ‘Will Not Allow Lawful Orders to be Defied’

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s executive order granting public school students the right to opt out of COVID-19 mask mandates has prompted Nashville and Memphis school administrators to announce they will not comply with Lee’s latest directive. That, in turn, prompted a response on Tuesday from Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge). On Facebook, McNally said Metro Nashville Public Schools’ (MNPS) and Shelby County Schools’ (SCS) officials’ apparent defiance against Lee left him “appalled and alarmed.”

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Precedent Matters: Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Questions the Slippery Slope of Bill Lee’s Executive Order Regarding Masks in School

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in studio to discuss the lack of clarity in Bill Lee’s executive order for K12 mask mandates.

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s New Executive Order Grants Students the Right to Opt Out of COVID-19 Mask Mandate

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Monday issued an executive order that grants parents the right to opt their children out of a school’s COVID-19 mask mandate if a school board or a health board enacts one over a district. Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) had requestedthat Lee convene a special session of the state’s General Assembly to address school districts who impose mask mandates upon students. Lee said Monday he would not call for such a session.

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Maury County Mayor Andrew Ogles Tells Legislators to Rein in Gov. Bill Lee’s ‘Abuses of Power’

Maury County Mayor Andrew Ogles on Wednesday called upon members of the Tennessee General Assembly to convene a special session to address Gov. Bill Lee and what Ogles said was the governor’s “continued abuses of power.” Ogles, in this proclamation, said Lee’s “indecisiveness and half measures” have “subjugated parents and their children to out of control school boards and superintendents, liberal mayors and a complicit commissioner of education.”

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