Blount County Mayor Shares Comparison of Mask and No-Mask Counties in Tennessee

Mayor of Blount County Ed Mitchell took to Facebook last week sharing a comparison of how Tennessee counties have fared under mask and no-mask mandates.

Blount County, which is not under a mask mandate by Mitchell, has Maryville as its county seat and largest city.  It lies in Tennessee’s eastern grand division adjacent to Knox and Sevier counties, both of which have mask mandates in place.

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Governor Lee Grants $5 Million to Charter Schools Based on ‘Significant Academic Growth’

Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday a $5 million grant for charter schools that had exhibited academic growth. The governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) will source the funds.

These grant will be referred to as “Charter School Support Grants.” Lee’s decision marked the first grant for charter schools during COVID-19.

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Ousted Democrat John DeBerry Loses House District 90 to Torrey Harris

Incumbent John DeBerry lost Tennessee’s House District 90 to Democratic candidate Torrey Harris on Tuesday. DeBerry lost by nearly 55 points, or just over 11,000 votes.

Although DeBerry had served the office as a Democrat for the last 26 years, the Democratic Party removed him from the primary ballot over disagreements with his views on abortion and education. 

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Governor Lee Extends State of Emergency Through End of Year

Governor Bill Lee has officially extended the state of emergency for the remainder of 2020.
The executive order followed Lee’s own quarantine due to exposure from the coronavirus. The extension of the order means that Tennessee will receive further federal funding, mayors can continue to implement their own guidelines, and government officials can continue to meet virtually.

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More Tennessee Counties Re-Issue Mask Mandates and Public Health Emergencies

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased this month, more Tennessee counties are re-issuing mask mandates. Tennessee has nearly 250,000 confirmed cases, 88 percent of which have recovered.
Montgomery County issued the most recent mask mandate on Tuesday. Other counties with mandates include Williamson, Wilson, Rutherford, and Sumner. These mask mandates adhere to guidelines issued under Governor Bill Lee.

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Davidson County Election Commission Suing Citizens for Putting Tax Cut on Ballot, Calling it ‘Unconstitutional’

The Davidson County Election Commission has recruited a legal team to sue the citizens’ group Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) for its December ballot tax cut petition.
Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Bill Koch will serve as lead council, and Junaid Odubeko the co-council.

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Nissan Moves Production Back to U.S.A. With Smyrna, Tennessee Plant

Nissan began efforts to move production to the United States on Tuesday by manufacturing the 2021 Rogue in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Nissan predicts the Rogue’s longstanding popularity will lead to its “turnaround as the company’s top-selling U.S. model,” according to their press release.

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The Cooper Administration Is Corrupt, Dishonest, and They Are Hurting People, Says Crom Carmichael

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss Mayor Cooper’s dishonest corruption of the people of Nashville.

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Governor Lee Denies Nashville Mayor Cooper’s Request for $82.6 Million Additional Coronavirus Relief Funding

Governor Bill Lee responded in writing Thursday denying Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s request for an additional $82.6 million in coronavirus relief funding.

In addition to the letter, Lee addressed the issue during a press conference Thursday, saying “I have to believe the strategy that I’m investing in is one that is consistent and aligned with the state’s strategy and Nashville’s are not.”

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Constitutional Experts to Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Emergency Powers: The Legislature is the Check on Executive Powers

In Thursday’s meeting of the Joint Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers, two experts on constitutional law said, that with the deference the courts afford the executive branch, it is up to the Tennessee General Assembly to put checks on the broad powers of the governor during an emergency.

In the second of three meetings, committee members heard testimony from seven individuals:  Glenn Reynolds, Professor of Law, University of Tennessee; Larry L. Crain, Crain Law Group; Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General of the State of Tennessee; Patrick Sheehan, Director TEMA; Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health; Clark Milner, Deputy Counsel to Governor Bill Lee; Brent Easley, Legislative Director to Governor Bill Lee.

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‘Tennessee Stands’ Files Lawsuit Claiming Statute Deeming Governor’s Executive Orders Having Full Force and Effect of Law Unconstitutional

Citizens for Limited Government and Constitutional Integrity, Inc. doing business as Tennessee Stands filed a lawsuit in Davidson County Chancery Court Monday against Governor Bill Lee on the grounds that the state statute deeming the governor’s executive orders have the full force and effect of law is unconstitutional.

Tennessee Stands founder and president Gary Humble along with Rodney Lunn, the plaintiffs in the case, reference Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) 58-2-107 which dates back to 2000.

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Expert Testimony on Study of Emergency Powers: Governor Lee’s Executive Orders Consistent with Powers Granted in State Law

In testimony to the Joint Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers Thursday, retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and president and dean of Nashville School of Law William C. Koch, Jr. said Governor Bill Lee’s executive orders are entirely consistent with the inherent power in his office and granted to him in state statute.

The 17-member ad hoc committee, consisting of five senators and 12 representatives, was established by the respective speakers of each house at the request of members in light of the emergency status caused by COVID-19.

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Tennessee General Assembly Wraps up Extraordinary Session, Passing the Anticipated Legislation

The second session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly wrapped up Wednesday evening after passing the legislation called for in Governor Bill Lee’s proclamation.

Over the course of three legislative days, the state Senate and House passed measures related to COVID-related liability protection, expansion of telemedicine and criminal laws related to protests.

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Special Session Bills Move Through Tennessee Senate and House Committees

Several bills addressing the issues outlined in Governor Bill Lee’s proclamation for an extraordinary session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly were taken up in Senate and House committee meetings Tuesday.

The call for the special session limited the legislation that could be taken up to COVID-related liability protection for persons and entities, electronic delivery of health-related services, protection of private and public property and personnel as well as the appropriations related to the legislation passed during the special session.

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The First Day of Special Session Reveals Legislation That Will be Considered Regarding COVID-19 Liability, Telemedicine and Protesting

The first day of the Tennessee General Assembly’s special session Monday called by Governor Bill Lee, revealed the legislation related to COVID-19 liability, telemedicine expansion and protesting that will be considered.

Only legislation related to the topics specifically contained in the governor’s proclamation can be considered during the special session, which began at 4 p.m. on Monday with both the House and Senate going into a floor session.

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This Week’s Special Legislative Session Could Cost Tennessee Taxpayers More Than $100,000

The special session of Tennessee lawmakers scheduled for the week of August 10 will likely cost Tennessee taxpayers more than $100,000.

Legislators were called to the special session by Governor Bill Lee through an August 3 proclamation to address three issues, the first two which could have been addressed during the previous legislative session.

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Multiple Counties Across Tennessee Extend Mask Mandates

Mayors in multiple counties across Tennessee have extended their mask mandates. Many of these mandates, which were set to expire on August 3, will continue through most of August.

Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 on July 3, which grants local leaders the authority to order masks and other face coverings when out in public.

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Clint Brewer Talks Trump’s Pro-USA Policies and Governor Lee’s Special Session

 Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former public affairs strategist Clint Brewer to weigh in on the Tennessee Valley Association and Governor Lee’s call for a special session.

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Tennessee Lawmakers to Consider COVID-19 Liability Protection, Telehealth Bills in Special Session

Tennessee lawmakers will return to Nashville on August 10 for a special session to consider legislation to provide COVID-19-related liability protections for health care providers, businesses and schools.

Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation Monday afternoon calling for the legislative special session.

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Rep. Bruce Griffey Questions Lee Administration About Not Sharing Data with the U.S. Census Bureau That Would Help Estimate Illegals in Tennessee

State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee on Friday questioning why Tennessee was not sharing data with the U.S. Census Bureau that would help estimate the number of illegal aliens living in Tennessee.

The issue arises out of President Trump’s memorandum this week to the Secretary of Commerce that excludes illegal aliens from the apportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives that follows the decennial census.

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272,000 Legal Immigrants Arrived in the U.S. in 2016 with Entitlement to Welfare Programs Like U.S. Citizens

272,000 legal immigrants arrived in the United States during 2016 with an entitlement to the full menu of welfare programs, just like any U.S. citizen, attendees were told at the Conservative Caucus in Murfreesboro on Saturday.

The information was presented by one of the afternoon’s speakers, Don Barnett, a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies who has followed refugee resettlement for over 20 years.

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FACT President David Fowler: ‘Separation of Powers is an Essential Factor to the Preservation of Civil Liberty and Self Government by Representation’

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the former state Senator and President of FACT, David Fowler to discuss the legal implications of Governor Lee’s mask executive order.

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Laura Baigert Weighs In on Gov. Lee’s Decision to Remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust from the Capitol

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 Tennessee Star Senior Reporter Laura Baigert to the newsmakers line.

During the second hour, Baigert weighed in on the recent meeting where Governor Lee decided to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol. She found it particularly interesting that it was known and attended by protesters and other local media however seemed to forget notifying The Tennessee Star.

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Carol Swain: Governor Lee and Mayor Cooper’s Mask Mandates Appear to Target Conservatives

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Dr. Carol Swain to the studio.

At the end of the second hour, Swain questioned the science behind Governor Lee and Mayor Cooper’s mask mandates suggesting that it appears that conservatives are the target of citations.

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State Capitol Commission Votes to Move Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust from Capitol After In-Person Request by Gov. Lee

After Governor Bill Lee weighed in on the State Capitol Commission (SCC) vote regarding the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the second floor of the State Capitol, by a 9 to 2 vote the body complied with his request.

The original motion of removing just the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest was amended to include the monuments to two of Tennessee’s other military heroes, Admirals David Farragut and Albert Gleaves.

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Gov. Lee Says Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust Should be Removed from the Capitol

Governor Bill Lee, on the eve of a vote by the State Capitol Commission (SCC) on the fate of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust, said it should be moved from the second floor of the State Capitol to the Tennessee State Museum.

The consideration of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust is the only item up for discussion by the SCC WebEx meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 9, according to the agenda.  

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Governor Bill Lee Endorses Incumbent Matthew Hill for State Representative

Governor Bill Lee endorsed incumbent Matthew Hill for the state House of Representatives’ 7th District of the eastern portion of Washington County, according to an announcement by the House Republican Caucus.

Hill, who has been a member of the Tennessee House since first elected in 2004, is being challenged by Rebecca Keefauver Alexander in the August 6 Republican primary.

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Government Retaliation Prompts Expansion of Lawsuit Against Mayor Cooper and Governor Lee Over COVID-19 Orders

A legal complaint brought by a local bar owner against Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for violating constitutional rights with their respective orders related to COVID-19 has since expanded due to more recent retaliatory events.

The original complaint was filed in late May, The Tennessee Star reported, with an amended version filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee about a month later.

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Host Leahy and Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson Discuss Gov. Lee’s State of Emergency Extension

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson to the studio.

At the end of the third hour, Leahy and Johnson answered calls from concerned parents about Governor Lee’s state of emergency extension that will last until August 29 and touched upon the potentiality of spreading COVID-19 through elementary and high school students.

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Senator Kerry Roberts Talks About the Sudden Passing of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill and the Issue with the COVID-19 Liability Bill

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Tennessee state Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield).

During the third hour, Roberts weighed in on the recent Fetal Heartbeat Bill surprisingly passed at midnight in the Tennessee General Assembly this week. Roberts discussed the issues with the constitutionality of the COVID-19 Liability bill which would hold businesses harmless should anyone contract the virus after a visit to their establishment.

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Abortion Groups Sue Tennessee Over Newly-Passed Heartbeat Bill, Down Syndrome Abortion Restrictions

Bill Lee

Tennessee was immediately sued by a cohort of liberal organizations Friday after the General Assembly passed its pro-life heartbeat bill.

The bill passed the Tennessee House in a vote of 69-17 and was then approved by the Tennessee Senate 23-5.

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Tennessee’s May Revenues Nearly 16 Percent Less Than May 2019 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The May revenues announced by Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley Monday showed a negative growth rate of 15.83 percent compared to a year ago.

The state’s revenues of $981.9 million were $197.3 million less than budgeted and $184.7 million less than May 2019, according to the department’s news release.

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Bills Requiring Legislative Input for Refugee Resettlement Advance in Tennessee State House

Two separate bills that stipulate that the input of either the state or local legislative body is required with regard to the resettlement of refugees have moved through the House State Committee.

In other words, both proposed pieces of legislation prohibit Tennessee’s governor from acting alone in making decisions regarding refugee resettlement.

The proposals came about as the result of a series of events that occurred in late 2019.

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Tennessee Lt. Governor Suggests Annual Sales Tax Holiday May Be Off the Table This Year

Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) suggested that the annual sales tax holiday is one of the things that would not be done this summer to help compensate for the state’s revenue shortfalls.

The revelation by the lieutenant governor was included in a WBIR 10News report in conjunction with adjustments the Tennessee General Assembly expects to make to the fiscal year 2021 budget.

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Governor Lee and Mayor Cooper Are ‘Depriving People of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,’ Carol Swain Says

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 was joined in the studio by former Vanderbilt professor and mayoral candidate Dr. Carol M. Swain.

At the top of the third hour, Swain discussed her disappointment in Mayor Cooper’s decision-making process by keeping Nashville shut down and acknowledging his lack of compassion. She added that it appears that his brother Jim Cooper may be the man behind Mayor Cooper pulling the strings and who’s first priority is satisfying the desires of national Democrats instead of Tennesseans.

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#FreeTN Rally Sunday Expands Message to Protecting Constitutional Liberties from Government Overreach

The #FreeTN movement is expanding its messaging for a rally scheduled for Sunday from a focus on reopening the economy to protecting constitutional liberties against government overreach. This rally will be held at the Tennessee State Health Department building on 710 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

To start this movement, Nashville resident Kim Edwards organized rallies while the state was on a shut down to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 spread.

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State Rep. Bruce Griffey Requests AG Opinion on Constitutionality of Governor Lee’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

In a five-page letter to the state’s attorney general dated May 12, state Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) requested a legal opinion as to the constitutionality and authority of Governor Bill Lee in issuing executive orders in response to COVID-19.

In a press release about his inquiry, Griffey explained, “When I ran for office, I ran on a platform of small government, limited government – a campaign platform I intend to honor. 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.

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Michael Patrick Leahy Explains HIPAA and Questions the Legality of Governor Bill Lee’s Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Positive COVID-19 Patients

Tuesday 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 Michael Patrick Leahy gave his commentary on Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s recent order allowing COVID-19 test results of private citizens to be released to local law enforcement. He examined whether this was constitutional or a statutory violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996’s privacy rule.

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Kerry Roberts: Now Is a Great Opportunity for Gov. Lee to Show Leadership by Un-Declaring the Tennessee State of Emergency and Put People Back to Work

On Tuesday’s 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. – Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed his weekly regular guest and all-star panelist Tennessee state Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) to the newsmakers line.

During the second hour, Roberts weighed in on Governor Lee’s recent order which allowed law enforcement access to private citizens’ COVID-19 test results. He expressed his disagreement with the order and suggested Lee show leadership by undeclaring a state of emergency.

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New American Populist Founder Jeff Webb Criticizes Governor Lee’s Decision to Give COVID-19 Patient Data to Law Enforcement: It’s a Pattern of Government Overreach

Live from Memphis on the newsmakers line Monday morning, New American Populist founder Jeff Webb joined 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.– to discuss his concerns about government overreach amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Clint Brewer on School Voucher Program: ‘The Status Quo Is Not Working in Our Largest Cities’

Public affairs strategist and all-star panelist Clint Brewer joined 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. – Wednesday morning on the newsmakers line.

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Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts: ‘Every Worker is an Essential Worker’

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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. – Leahy was joined on the line during the program’s second hour by Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts.

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Hundreds Rally at the State Capitol from Across the State in Support of the #FreeTN Movement

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Hundreds of people from all parts of the state gathered again at the state capitol Monday in support of the #FreeTN movement, following a rally of the same name last Sunday. In addition to those standing on either side of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard…

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Another Day, Another Rally Telling Governor Bill Lee to Reopen Tennessee

  NASHVILLE, Tennessee – For the second time in as many days, Tennesseans rallied at the State Capitol in Nashville on Monday to tell Governor Bill Lee to reopen the state. About 100 people gathered on the sidewalks in front of and across the street from the Capitol Building, on…

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State Representatives Martin Daniel and Bruce Griffey Urged Governor Bill Lee to Reopen Tennessee

At least two State Representatives, Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville) and Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) wrote formal letters to Governor Bill Lee, urging him to reopen Tennessee immediately.

Representative Daniel, who will have served three terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, announced last month that he will not seek reelection in 2020.  Representative Griffey is currently serving his first term.

The Representatives wrote their letters based on the input of their constituents and in response to last week’s extension of Governor Lee’s stay-at-home order through April 30.

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Leahy and Swain Discuss How Tennessee’s Stay at Home Order Allows People to Buy Liquor and Get an Abortion

Live from Music Row Thursday 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 was joined on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist Dr. Carol Swain.

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Grassroots Leader Ben Cunningham Slams Governor Bill Lee Over Stay-at-Home Extension

In the wake of Governor Bill Lee’s extension of his stay-at-home order to the end of the month, long-time and respected grassroots leader Ben Cunningham wrote a hard-hitting letter to the governor asking for an immediate plan to quickly restore economic and personal freedom.

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