August 11, 2021
Up to now during the COVID-19 pandemic, most Republican governors opted to protect the rights and individual freedoms of their citizens and against imposing top-down lockdowns and mandates that robbed people of liberties and their ability to decide for themselves, as Americans, what their own best courses of action would be in terms of self-isolation, getting a vaccine, socially distancing, or wearing a mask.
But there have been some notable exceptions, and one of them is Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee.
Lee quietly signed an executive order recently that authorizes the Tennessee National Guard and Tennessee State Guard to implement involuntary commitments of citizens as well as quarantines “in connection with certain health care emergency services operations.” Lee noted in the order he was specifically concerned with “an increase in COVID-19 cases.”
According to an influential state conservative group, Tennessee Stands, Lee signed the order, No. 83, on Friday “with little fanfare.”
The conservative group highlighted some provisions of the order it found “exceptionally concerning,” to include:
- “Discretion to utilize National Guard and State Guard members in connection with certain health care and emergency services operations.”
- “Telephone assessments for involuntary commitment cases are permitted.”
- “Temporary quarantine and isolation facilities may be constructed.”