Rep. Yusuf Hakeem Legislative Report

Thursday, July 2, 2020
On Monday, Governor Lee, in response to the growing number of new coronavirus cases,14,743 active cases and 592 deaths,extended his state of emergency declaration through August 29th.
Governor Lee's emergency declaration strongly encourages all Tennesseans to continue limiting activities and to stay at home where possible, as well as following health guidelines and maintaining social distancing; Urges employers to allow or require remote work/telework if possible; Provide that persons with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms are required to stay at home, and that employers may not require or allow employees with COVID-19 to work; Limit social and recreational gatherings of 50 or more persons, unless adequate social distancing can be maintained (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments may issue different directives on gatherings
  • This does not apply to places of worship, for which there are guidelines for safe operation of worship services and gatherings, though places of worship are urged to continue virtual or online services where possible; This does not apply to weddings, funerals, and related events, but encourages postponement of large-gathering components of such events;
Limit contact sports with a requirement or substantial likelihood of routine close contact
  • This does not apply to collegiate or professional sports conducted under the rules or guidelines of their respective governing bodies anddoes not prohibit training or otherwise practicing the elements of such sports that do not involve close contact with persons.
Limit nursing home and long-term-care facility visitation, while providing a framework for safe, limited visitation set forth in Executive Order No. 49, and continue the closure of senior centers; Provide that employers and businesses are expected to comply with the Governor’s Economic Recovery Group Guidelines (e.g., Tennessee Pledge) for operating safely, as well as general health guidelines from the CDC and other government entities (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments have authority to issue different directives on businesses/venues); Provide that bars may only serve customers seated at appropriately spaced tables and must follow the Economic Recovery Group Guidelines (e.g., Tennessee Pledge) for restaurants (the 6 counties with locally run county health departments have authority to issue different directives on businesses/venues); Urges persons and businesses to take special care to protect vulnerable populations, including by offering delivery or special shopping hours where possible; Allow take-out and delivery alcohol sales by restaurants and limited-service restaurants to continue to encourage customers to utilize take-out or delivery options;Allow broad access to telehealth services;Increase opportunities for people to easily join the healthcare workforce; Provide easier access to unemployment benefits;Ensure supply chain protections;Extend deadlines and suspend certain in-person continuing education or inspection requirements to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact; and increase opportunities to work remotely where appropriate.

This weekend we will all be celebrating the birth of our great country differently than we have in the past. With this year's Independence Day celebrations pushed to the background by the coronavirus and protests around the country, now is the perfect time to ask ourselves what makes our beautiful country so great and how we can make it better together. Freedom is a chance to do and be better than we were in the past. Happy Independence Day.

This week, our neighbor Mississippi, took a step in the right direction and is finally removing their state flag. The 126-year-old banner is the last remaining U.S. state flag that adorns a Confederate battle emblem. While it is highly encouraging to see Mississippi finally reject this symbol of hate and division, and move towards a future that is inclusive for all Mississippians, I can not help but think about this year's failed attempts to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest. We are long overdue for a state that embraces inclusivity and rejects symbols of hate. I want to see Tennessee be a leader in healing racial divides, and it starts with relocating the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest to the Tennessee State Museum. In a major win for voting rights in the State of Tennessee, Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, ruled that the state's limits on absentee voting during the pandemic constitutes "an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution." Her ruling mandates that the State of Tennessee must give all eligible voters the option to vote by mail in the upcoming 2020 elections because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the following day the State of Tennessee filed a motion to stay the Chancellor's order along with a motion for interlocutory appeal, which would allow a direct appeal to the Court of Appeals before the Chancery Court makes its final ruling on the injunction. Following the State's motion to stay,  Chancellor Ellen Lyle ruled that the State of Tennessee must comply with the court's order and instructed the state to fix its absentee voting request forms. Anyone who deems COVID-19 a risk to their health or others will be able to request an absentee ballot. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that it will not block the order allowing mail-in ballots to all eligible voters during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

First Time Voters: It is unclear at this monument whether first time voters will be able to vote absentee. In the Chancellor mandate, she states that "any eligible Tennessee voter". However, in her order, she does not specifically state first time voters.Update: Tennessee election officials plan to enforce the requirement that first-time voters who register by mail cast their ballot in person.

On election day, if there is a dispute on your ability to vote you can request and cast a Provisional Ballot.  
 


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Opinion

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Kim White and Erskine Oglesby, mayoral candidates in the upcoming City of Chattanooga mayoral race, engaged in and promoted an increase in the expense of owning property and in owning and operating a business in the city’s downtown area. I n 2018, while President and CEO of the River City Company, Kim White and Erskine Oglesby as a board member of the River City Company, promoted, ... (click for more)

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Breaking News

Lee Tells General Assembly "It's Time To Intervene For Our Kids

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Two men were shot in separate incidents on Monday evening and showed up at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. At approximately 8:41 p.m. Monday, Chattanooga Police were dispatched on a report of shots fired in the area of Olive Street and Roanoke Avenue. While en route, officers were advised that a 40-year-old man had arrived at a local hospital by private vehicle ... (click for more)

Sports

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The Major League Baseball season is the longest of any pro sport in America, and it has been this way for over 100 years. Each season has hot streaks and slumps, masterful pitching performances and demotions to the bullpen. On any given day, the unknown ballplayer can become a hero. On September 13, 1930, Detroit Tigers rookie shortstop and Chattanoogan Bill Akers didn’t just outduel ... (click for more)