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Governor plans to address business liability protection, Nathan Bedford Forrest bust

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Gov. Bill Lee (copy)

Gov. Bill Lee 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced his signing of Executive Order 53, which provides limited liability protection for health care professionals related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but liability protection for businesses will have to wait a little longer.

Lee said, in order for businesses to have liability protection from frivolous lawsuits pertaining to the global pandemic, legislation will have to pass through the Tennessee General Assembly. While the legislative session has adjourned, Lee said he plans to call a special session to address these liability issues.

Lee also has scheduled a State Capitol Commission meeting for July 9, in which the commission will discuss the fate of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the state capitol building. Lee has expressed his opinions that "at the very least, we need to provide context" around the bust.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest is a particular individual whose role in history is particularly painful for African Americans, and therefore, we should consider things around that individual uniquely, including the bust," he said on June 10.

While the state House Naming, Designating, & Private Acts Committee recently passed a bill to remove Nathan Bedford Forrest Day on July 13 as a day of special observance, the same committee did not pass a resolution to remove the bust of Forrest in the capitol.

However, when Lee addresses the commission on July 9, his views on the bust have an opportunity to influence its fate. Lee said, ultimately, it will be the commission's decision that will dictate the bust's position moving forward.

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