21′ SB1593/HB1120 – Hall/Bailey

Bill Description

This bill authorizes the joint government operations committee of the general assembly to review an executive order issued by the president of the United States if the order has not been affirmed by a vote of the congress of the United States and signed into law as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States.

This bill provides that, upon review, the committee may recommend to the attorney general and reporter and the governor that the order be further examined by the attorney general and reporter to determine the constitutionality of the order and to determine whether this state should seek an exemption from the application of the order or seek to have the order declared to be an unconstitutional exercise of legislative authority by the president. This bill prohibits a state agency, political subdivision, or elected or appointed official or employee of this state or of a political subdivision from implementing an executive order that restricts a person's rights or that is determined by the attorney general and reporter to be unconstitutional, as evidenced by a published opinion, if the order relates to:

(1) A pandemic or other public health emergency;

(2) The regulation of natural resources;

(3) The regulation of the agricultural industry;

(4) The regulation of land use;

(5) The regulation of the financial sector through the imposition of environmental, social, or governance standards; or

(6) The regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

ON APRIL 5, 2021, THE HOUSE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1 AND PASSED HOUSE BILL 1120, AS AMENDED: Amendment #1 deletes the provisions of this bill that would prohibit a state agency, political subdivision, or elected or appointed official or employee of this state or of a political subdivision from implementing an executive order that restricts a person's rights or that is determined by the attorney general and reporter to be unconstitutional.

TLRC Position

We support this legislation but feel it could be stronger. The 10th amendment guarantees the sovereignty of the states. There is nothing contradicting that in the constitution that says that the President can overrule the US and TN constitutions by simply writing an executive order.
It's high-time we operated on that principle enshrined in the constitution of the United States of America.

TLRC Observed Process

This important bill passed through the House on a partisan basis with the exception of Chairman John Mark Windle (D. Livingston) who voted with the majority.

For reasons unknown to TLRC (We are working on that) the senate did not take up this bill.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Score: +5

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