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Adams and Reese Legislative Update 5-01-2020

This month, Governor Bill Lee announced that his safer at home order – which imposed a blanket closure of most businesses across Tennessee – will expire on April 30th and will not be renewed, thus opening the door for a majority of businesses in 89 of the state’s 95 counties to reopen on Friday, May 1. This announcement does not necessarily amount to the Governor turning on a statewide “open” sign, however. Six of Tennessee’s largest counties – Davidson (Nashville), Hamilton (Chattanooga), Knox (Knoxville), Madison (Jackson), Shelby (Memphis) and Sullivan (Bristol) – have issued
their own stay at home orders. The Governor indicated that he will work with the county health departments and mayors of those counties and Tennessee’s largest cities to implement their own reopening strategies. The Governor described his reopening plan, deemed the Tennessee Pledge, as the first step in a phased approach of reopening the state’s economy, stating that his administration is “pursuing a careful, measured approach to reopening our economy that does not depend on heavy-handed mandates but instead provides practical tools for business of all sizes,” noting that “Tennesseans pulled together to flatten the curve, and it’s time for people to begin to get back to work and back to their businesses.”  On the legislative front, the staff of the Tennessee General Assembly will return to work at the Cordell Hull Building on Monday, May 4th . After passing an emergency budget on March 19th, the General Assembly recessed until June 1st, however, committee meetings could occur in late May in anticipation of resuming the 2020 legislative session. The legislature will reopen to staff under new protocols at the Cordell Hull Building, including wearing masks while in the presence of others and maintaining six feet of distance. However, the Cordell Hull Building which will remain closed to the public, except by appointment not less than one day in advance. Legislative leadership has not indicated the scope of legislative matters that will be taken up in the remainder of session or whether the public will be permitted to attend legislative proceedings.  However, we anticipate increased budget cuts due to anticipated revenue shortfalls in the state. As always, we will remain on top of all legislative developments and will keep you informed accordingly. We hope this update finds each of you safe and healthy. It is a pleasure to represent you at the Tennessee General Assembly.

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