On the Aug. 11, the entire House Republican GOP wrote a letter to Gov. Bill Lee asking him to convene an extraordinary session to address “misdirected mandated responses to COVID-19 by local entities and officials.”
By John Gentry
This letter suggests the only way to convene a special session is through the governor. Are the Tennessee House Republicans constitutionally incompetent or grandstanding without true purpose?
Inherent authority to hold assembly
All this grandstanding, shuck and jive appear to me just another Tennessee Two-Step Dance.
Tennessee Constitution, Article II, Section 8, last clause
The General Assembly may by joint resolution recess or adjourn until such time or times as it shall determine. It shall be convened at other times by the governor as provided in Article III, Section 9, or by the presiding officers of both Houses at the written request of two-thirds of the members of each House.
Read that last sentence again: “Or by the presiding officers of both Houses at the written request of two-thirds of the members of each House.” Two thirds = 2 divided by 3 = 66.6667 percent.
All it takes to reconvene is 2/3rd of the houses sending a written request to the speakers of both houses. That should be easy considering republican majority.
The 112th General Assembly House of Representatives is composed of 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats. 73R+26D=99 Members and 73R divided by 99 Members =74% political makeup of the Senate of the 112th General Assembly is 27 Republicans and 6 Democrats.
27R+6D = 33 Members.
27R divided by 33 Members = 82%.
Our government is facilitating businesses, school boards, etc. to do their dirty work while it plays innocent. If Republican representatives sincerely wanted to stop these abuses of power, rights infringements, they would initiate a special session themselves.
The fact that they don’t is evidence that they do not have the best interests of the people in mind, and make empty gestures to keep the people appeased.
What governor should do
If I were in office, I would be issuing a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction against all state and local officials, employers, etc. to not infringe rights or abuse power. I would be convening the General Assembly without House Republicans having to ask me, expressing the will of the people. The fact that House Republicans had to make their empty gesture to Gov. Lee evidences Lee does not care about the well-being of his people and that he does the bidding of the Biden Administration pertaining to the ongoing COVID response.
What can you do as a citizen? Call your senator and representative and tell them to send written request to the Speakers to convene, pursuant to Art II, Sect 8, last clause. If your senator or representative will not do that, you know where they stand regarding protecting your rights.
Let them know you are on to their Tennessee Two Step games.
John Gentry is constitutional Republican independent candidate governor 2022