Federal Prompts for Gov. Bill Lee to Issue Statewide Mask Mandate Begs Question of Who Is Behind the Idea

Tennessee is ranked fourth in the nation for COVID deaths per 100,000 people, WUOT reports, citing the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s red zone report, which calls for Gov. Bill Lee to implement a statewide mask mandate.

The controversial report is from earlier this month. The task force issues frequent red zone reports.

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Tennessee Republican Party Leaders Plan Road to Victory Bus Tour to Get Out the Vote

Tennessee legislative leaders, as well as Gov. Bill Lee, plan to stage a number of bus stops around the state for much of the rest of October to get out the vote.

The statewide Road to Victory bus tour is meant to encourage citizens to vote and to elect Republican candidates, according to a press release from the Tennessee Republican Party.

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UTK Law Professor Glenn Reynolds Talks to Legislative Ad Hoc Committee about Tennessee Governors’ Emergency Powers

University of Tennesse at Knoxville (UTK) Law Professor Glenn Reynolds on Thursday spoke to members of the Tennessee General Assembly about various topics, including a governor’s use of executive orders and the reasoning behind him having such power.

His appearance was before the Legislature’s Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers.

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Tennessee Once Again Extends COVID-19 State of Emergency

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has once again extended the state of emergency until the end of September.

Lee, a Republican, initially imposed the state of emergency on March 12 in order to free up funding and relax rules regarding the treatment and containment of COVID-19. He extended the order on Friday, the day before it was set to expire.

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Gov. Lee Signs Bill Making Illegal Camping a Felony

Tennessee protesters will face harsher penalties, including losing the right to vote, for breaking certain laws during demonstrations under a law enacted by Gov. Bill Lee.

The Republican governor quietly signed off on the bill Thursday. Lee has previously conceded there were portions of the bill he “would have done differently” but ultimately agreed to make the proposal law effective immediately with his signature.

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People Speak Out Against Big Brother Style Child Wellbeing Check Run by Tennessee Department of Education

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles says, “NO!!!” to Gov. Bill Lee’s Big Brother-style child wellbeing program that plans to send government officials to families’ homes to do welfare checks of children.

The Tennessee Department of Education says it released a toolkit on child wellbeing checks to ensure the needs of children are being met during and after extended periods away from school. It is promoted as protecting children.

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Governor Lee Signs Executive Order Allowing Contact Sports, Extending Local Authority to Mandate Masks

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed an executive order that permits contact and noncontact sports in the state, extends the authority of local governments to mandate face coverings, and extends liability protections for health care providers.

No sports are now prohibited in Tennessee, as long as participants follow safety guidelines from their governing bodies or Tennessee Pledge COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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Federal Court Immediately Blocks Tennessee’s Heartbeat Bill Hours After Governor Bill Lee Signed into Law

Hours after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Monday signed the Heartbeat Bill into law, a federal judge quickly blocked the measure.

U.S. District Judge William Campbell in Nashville opted to wait for the bill to become law to rule on whether to block it. In granting the temporary restraining order Monday, he wrote that he’s “bound by the Supreme Court holdings prohibiting undue burdens on the availability of pre-viability abortions.”

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COVID-19 Liability Reform Measure Flounders in Tennessee

Just a few weeks ago, Tennessee looked like a sure bet to become the latest state to protect businesses and other organizations from lawsuits by people impacted by the coronavirus in the push to reopen the economy. Republican Gov. Bill Lee had talked up the change and touted his advocacy on tort reform as a businessman, and he had GOP lawmakers in supermajorities lined up to seal the deal.

That was before negotiations among lawmakers broke down so badly in the hectic waning hours of legislative work that the generally mild-mannered Senate Speaker Randy McNally accused two House leaders of working with “a cabal of Democrats and attorneys to defeat the legislation and place our entire economy in danger.”

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Gov. Lee Will End Use of Electronic Governmental Meetings After June 30

One hallmark for the pandemic scare in Tennessee has been the heavy governmental use of electronic meetings, facilitated by Gov. Bill Lee signing executive orders allowing them.

The meetings often were on Zoom or a similar format, and as the state began reopening, sometimes meetings would have participants both in person and participating electronically.

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Gov. Lee Considers Calling Special Session of Legislature to Pass Bill Giving Businesses Protection From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Gov. Bill Lee is thinking about calling the Legislature in for a special session to pass a bill to provide retroactive COVID-19 legal protection for businesses, the Chattanooga Times Free Press said.

The General Assembly ended their session on Friday without the House passing the Tennessee Recovery and Safe Harbor Act. It received 46 of 50 votes needed. House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) questioned whether the measure was legal under Tennessee’s Constitution regarding the impairment of contracts. (The Senate had approved the bill.)

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Gov. Lee Announces ‘Strong Mask Movement’ to Make Wearing Face Masks ‘Fun’

Gov. Bill Lee announced a new “TN Strong Mask Movement” Thursday with the goal of making face masks more “fun.”

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Economic Recovery Group developed the new program along with more than 30 “flagship brands” across the state, including Amazon, Bridgestone, Bristol Motor Speedway, Graceland, Jack Daniel’s, several professional sports teams and universities, and many others.

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Tennessee State Senate Hurriedly Approves Major Abortion Bill Just Before Legislature Adjourns, Gov. Lee Says He Will Sign into Law

Major pro-life legislation was approved by the Tennessee Legislature in Friday’s early morning hours just before legislators wrapped up their year.

Passage — and the end of the session — came as a surprise because Senate leaders had said they would not take the abortion measure up in this condensed year, according to a story by The Tennessee Journal: On the Hill. The publication also reported the Senate did this to persuade the House to back off of making changes to the budget proposal the Senate had approved.

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Gov. Lee Shares His ‘Child Wellbeing Plan’ With First Lady Melania Trump

Gov. Bill Lee spoke by phone Wednesday with First Lady Melania Trump on a new task force to address children’s mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House said Penny Schwinn, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, also participated.

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Nashville Health Department to Continue Sharing COVID-19 Patient Data with Law Enforcement

The Metro Public Health Department in Nashville will still provide COVID-19 patient information to first responders and law enforcement.

Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell said the practice is “temporary,” but that it’s working, WPLN reported Thursday.

“This is an emergency,” he says. “This is critical, timely, life-saving information that has reduced and contained the spread of this disease within our medical institutions and within our jails. I’m puzzled by why the state reversed course.”

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Tennessee Businesses Need Legislators Back in Nashville to Assist Them with COVID-19 Aftermath, Local GOP Leaders Say

Nearly 30 GOP officials from throughout Tennessee this week urged Gov. Bill Lee to end all COVID-19-related restrictions, and they also urged that the state’s General Assembly members return from their current recess.

They submitted an open letter this week requesting just that.

In their letter, they told Lee that while he is Tennessee’s chief executive “he is not the representative of the people.”

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Commentary: Minority Communities Stand to Lose the Most Because of Judge’s ESA Decision

Next time you hear progressives talk about how they are the ones who are sticking up for minority communities, ask them to square their opposition to educational freedom – or the ability for families to customize their child’s education.

Progressives cheered this week as Nashville Chancellor Anne C. Martin ruled that the state’s education savings account program is “unconstitutional” because of an obscure section in our constitution where it talks about “home rule.”

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Gov. Lee’s Advisor Who Provided COVID-19 Patient Information to Police, Promoted to COO

The woman behind Tennessee providing COVID-19 patient data to first responders has been promoted.

Brandon O. Gibson, a senior advisor to Gov. Bill Lee, was promoted to the state’s chief operating officer (COO), the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

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Knoxville Opts Out of Controversial Practice of Sharing Personal Data of COVID-19 Patients with Police

The City of Knoxville said Tuesday it will opt-out of sharing the names and addresses of COVID-19 patients with law enforcement following a statewide controversy over the practice.

Mayor Indya Kincannon and Police Chief Eve Thomas said that the Knoxville Police Department will leave a state program that allows law-enforcement officers across Tennessee to access a database of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19.

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Black Lawmakers Want State to Stop Giving Names, Addresses of COVID-19 Patients to Police

The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators wants the state to quit giving names and addresses of COVID-19 patients to police.

The caucus made the request to Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Health, WATE reported, citing a press release from Democratic Caucus Chairman Ken Jobe. Lee sent letters to Tennessee police offering to provide personal information to their departments once they’ve entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the state.

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Judge Rules Tennessee Must Allow ‘Constitutional Right’ of Abortions

  A panel of federal judges ruled 2-1 that Tennessee must allow the “Constitutional right” to abortion during the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic. The decision came Friday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, available online here. Ruling in favor of abortion were Judges Karen Nelson…

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Tennessee Says Unemployment Filings Went Down in Second Week of March, But That Was Before the Lockdown

In a “what the heck” moment, the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development on Thursday said unemployment filings for two-thirds of counties went down for the second week of March.

The filings were for March 8-14, just before the Chinese coronavirus took a toll.

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Once Tennessee Economy Reopens, Will State Quarantine Patients, Trace Contacts?

With Tennessee possibly moving toward an economic reopening in May, one looming question is what, if anything, will the state do with people who continue to test positive for COVID-19, especially ensuring that they are staying quarantined.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order through April 30, but he also said government and private-sector officials are working to reopen the state’s economy in May, The Tennessee Star reported.

Lee said this at a televised press conference, adding “we are not out of the woods yet, and it could be some time [before we are].”

“Until a vaccine or a therapy is widely available to Tennesseans, this virus will be a present reality to us to manage and consider whenever we are making decisions,” Lee said.

Lee said that last month he started working with leaders of industry to understand how this pandemic would impact the state’s businesses.

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Gov. Lee Says His ‘Expectation’ Is That Abortion Clinics Would Cancel Procedures During Pandemic

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday that it is his “hope and expectation” that abortion clinics would cancel elective procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lee issued an executive order Monday that requires all hospitals and surgical outpatient facilities to cancel or postpone all “non-essential procedures” through April 13. The intent of the order is to free up personal protective equipment for health care professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

His executive order asks “non-hospital health care providers,” such as abortion facilities, to deliver any personal protective equipment in their possession to the nearest Tennessee National Guard Armory.

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Tennessee Government Relents to Pressure, Reveals County-By-County Location of State’s Seven Coronavirus Cases

The Tennessee Department of Health has backed down from its secret government stance — by a little — and released the county-by-county location of the state’s seven confirmed coronavirus cases.

The TDH and Gov. Bill Lee for two days had refused to say which counties had coronavirus COVID-19 cases. Late Tuesday evening, TDH acknowledged intense public criticism when it issued this statement:

The Tennessee Department of Health has announced updated case management protocol regarding confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a continued effort to keep communities informed while also maintaining patient privacy.

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Nashville, Memphis Report Tennessee’s Second, Third Cases of Coronavirus

Nashville Mayor John Cooper confirmed a case of coronavirus on Sunday, making it the third in Tennessee, coming the same day Shelby County announced a case.

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Sen. Blackburn Tours Tornado-Damaged Communities, Advances Bill to Allow Faster Repairs of Telecom Infrastructure

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has been busy checking in on the state’s response to the deadly tornadoes that hit Middle Tennessee this week.

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Williamson County Coronavirus Patient Flew Home Recently From Boston, Has Child Attending Battle Ground Academy

New reports on the Williamson County man diagnosed with the coronavirus indicate he flew home from Boston, and has a son attending Battle Ground Academy.

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State Rep. Gant Introduces Bill to Address Refugee Resettlement Issue

The Tennessee House of Representatives is considering a new bill aimed at stopping Gov. Bill Lee from allowing an influx of refugees without legislative approval.

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Judson Phillips Commentary: The Left’s Next Target

Judson Phillips

You can reflexively oppose anything the left supports and almost never to worry about being wrong.  Unfortunately, many conservatives have fallen for the shiny object that is being dangled in front of them by the left called, “criminal justice reform.”

The American criminal justice system is not perfect and like any other system, there are always improvements and corrections that can be made.  Unfortunately, most of the reforms the left is suggesting make things worse, not better.

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Judson Phillips Commentary: Bill Lee Strikes Out Again

In October, something that has been very underreported happened.  It is something that Tennesseans should know about and be very worried about.

One of Governor Bill Lee’s pet objectives is criminal justice reform.  In October, while speaking to the GOP Senate Republican Caucus, Lee said, “We can empty our jails in the same way that some other states have done. I know we can do that.”

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Gov. Bill Lee Silent on Report His Decision Allows Federal Government to Send Middle East Refugees to Tennessee That Australia Has Refused

Gov. Bill Lee’s decision on December 18 to say yes to more refugees in Tennessee allows the federal government to resettle refugees from any country it wants into the state, including an estimated 300 to 720  refugees from Middle East countries that the government of Australia has refused to accept.

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Gov. Lee Has Not Made Decision on Whether to Refuse Refugees

Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday he hasn’t decided if he’ll accept President Donald Trump’s offer to let states refuse to accept refugees, U.S. News reported. The governor added he has not spoken to his team about how he will respond to this executive order.

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Gov. Lee Names Nine Members of Public Charter School Commission

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s education agenda continues to take shape with the recent appointments of nine members of a Public Charter School Commission.

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Gov. Lee to Provide Grants to Schools That Teach American History, Civic Values

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the launch of the Governor’s Civics Seal and mini-grant program to provide support and recognize schools and districts that prioritize teaching the nation’s history and civic values.

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Lawyer Activist Group Files Federal Court Injunction to Block Tennessee’s New Law Seeking to Stop Illegal, Incompetent Voter Registration Drives

A lawyer activist organization in Washington, D.C., is trying to block Tennessee’s efforts to secure its elections from fraud and incompetence by filing an injunction in federal court, but one political observer isn’t buying it, saying the law combats illegal registration efforts.

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