Gov. Bill Lee is extending his state of emergency to run nearly a year.
His executive order No. 71 of Dec. 22 extends his state of emergency through Feb. 27, “at which time the suspension of any state laws and rules and my authorization pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 58-2-118, shall cease and be of no further force or effect.”
His state of emergency began March 12, 2020, and he banned commerce and travel April 2, in violation of a provision in the health statute that says any efforts to mitigate a disease must be done “with the least inconvenience to commerce and travel.”
Gov. Lee’s document pretending that he has suspended the isolation quarantine law at Tennessee Code Ann. 68-5-10 that nowhere is he authorised to do and which he has not done. But he has suspended numerous rules within his administration and his agencies, that he is authorized to do under emergency powers.
By my analysis, and according to my affidavit of complaint in the mandamus case State of Tennessee ex rel David Tulis, Gov. Lee is bound by the health statute regardless of the gravity of the situation that he believes the so-called Covid-19 is posing to the state and its people.
He says “COVID-19 remains a threat to our citizens” and that “this suspension of selected state laws and rules and other measures *** are necessary to facilitate the response to the current emergency.”
The order allows continuation of public meetings held privately online.
The crucial 102 words in the statute that controls the method the state is allowed to deal with a contagious outbreak are as follows — with Gov. Lee having performed none of these duties in the great panic of 2020:
It is the duty of the local health authorities, on receipt of a report of a case, or suspected case, of disease declared to be communicable, contagious, or one which has been declared by the commissioner of health to be subject to isolation or quarantine, to confirm or establish the diagnosis, to determine the source or cause of the disease and to take such steps as may be necessary to isolate or quarantine the case or premise upon which the case, cause or source may be found, as may be required by the rules and regulations of the state department of health.