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Has Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee exceeded his authority during health crisis? Law scholars weigh in

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capitol.tn.gov
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Gov. Bill Lee has acted within the scope of his authority during the ongoing health crisis.

That was the consensus Thursday among witnesses testifying before a special called state legislative committee.

Some of Tennessee’s conservative, Republican-majority state lawmakers were angered in the spring by the governor’s use of executive orders to shutter businesses and order residents to shelter at home.

Thursday’s witnesses before the panel included former U.S. Attorney General and current Belmont Law School Dean Alberto Gonzalez, along with former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and current Nashville School of Law President William Koch.

The Tennessean reports the men agreed Lee is acting within his authority, but also noted the legislature could pass laws curtailing the governor’s power in future emergencies.

Earlier this year, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slattery III also opined that Gov. Lee has operated within the emergency powers allowed by state law.

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