Governor’s emergency powers remains focus of Special Ad Hoc committee

State-Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — A governor’s emergency power during things like a pandemic remains a key question for Tennessee state lawmakers.

A legislative committee looking into the issue plans to resume after the November election.

“We think they should look at that,” said Governor Bill Lee earlier this week during an outdoor Capitol Hill briefing for reporters.

As COVID-19 brought changes from schools to businesses everywhere in Tennessee, state lawmakers created the Ad Hoc committee.

In early March, Governor Lee began issuing a variety of executive orders affecting everyday life across Tennessee.

“Could be a long time before we are in that again and certainly ought to look at the law as it stands,” added Governor Lee on Tuesday.

One of the co-chairs of the Ad Hoc committee has long said what the group won’t do.

“We can talk about masks, football and schools. that is a discussion for a time, but that is not now,” said Rep. Jason Zachary on August 20th during the committee’s inaugural meeting.

A former state supreme court justice weighed in at one of the hearings about what Lee had done.

“His executive orders are entirely consistent with the powers in his office and the powers you have granted him,” said William Koch who is now dean of Nashville School of Law.

After the November meeting, the legislative Ad Hoc committee plans to issue a report on a governor’s emergency powers by the end of the year.

Lawmakers may also bring new legislation concerning the emergency powers during next year’s session that begins in January.

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