A bill enabling the Tennessee legislature to end public health-related states of emergency was deferred to summer study in the Senate. However, the bill lives on in the House – the representatives are scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon.
State Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) and State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) sponsored the bill. Haile was the one who requested to move the bill to summer study. He cited that there were some issues that needed to be worked over, which he didn’t explain in detail. Read More
Public schools may be required to provide accommodations for students who want to use bathrooms opposite the ones designated for their sex at birth. According to the “Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act,” such alternative accommodations would extend to restrooms, changing rooms such as locker or shower rooms, and sleeping quarters while attending a school-sponsored activity. The act would also enable the student who requested alternative accommodations to take up a private right of action against the school if denied.
State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) and State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) introduced the bill about a month ago. Since then, it has been recommended for passage by the House K-12 Subcommittee and referred to the Education Committee several weeks ago. Read More
The Tennessee House passed two bills expanding the authority of county mayors and teachers in exigent situations. Both were approved on Monday and are awaiting passage in the Senate.
Under HB0007, county-wide policy-making powers related to public health emergencies would be reserved solely for the county mayor in counties with particular population counts. The bill would only apply to Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Sullivan, and Madison counties. Those six counties would also see their county boards of health or county health committees demoted to advisory roles. State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) introduced the bill last November. It passed 67-26. Read More
Certain counties may see the roles of their health boards change in the event of another public health emergency. According to a bill making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly, county mayors should retain the exclusive authority to establish health-related mandates and regulations, while health boards and committees should only serve to advise them. The proposed measures would only apply to counties with certain population counts. Accordingly, the bill would affect Shelby, Knox, Davidson, Hamilton, Sullivan, and Madison counties.
State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) introduced the bill in November, as Chris Butler with The Tennessee Star reported previously. In a press release, Zachary explained that only elected representatives are accountable to those they serve – therefore, only elected representatives should have the final say in public health emergencies. Read More
Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed TN State Representative Jason Zachary to the program to weigh in on the objectives of the upcoming special and legislative sessions. Read More
A joint Ad Hoc Committee to Study Emergency Powers in a meeting held Tuesday agreed to pass along their recommendations for reforming Tennessee law regarding the declaration of a state of emergency and powers granted to the executive branch during such emergency. Read More
Of note is that the agreed-upon reforms are not recommended to go into effect until the current administration leaves. Additionally, the recommendations do not address the constitutionality of current state law.
Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton to the show to discuss a bill ridding the state of independent health boards and General Assembly priorities moving forward. Read More
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. Read More
State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) told The Tennessee Star Friday that he has not been contacted by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) regarding the passage of Governor Bill Lee’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) legislation. As a follow-up to a news report on Thursday by Phil Williams at NewsChannel 5… Read More