After hearing impassioned speeches from Black lawmakers, the Tennessee State Capitol Commission voted for the first time to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest. And, in a last-minute vote, the group also voted to take out two other military figures from the Capitol’s second floor.
Gov. Bill Lee said on Wednesday afternoon that the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the state Capitol should be moved to the Tennessee State Museum. “Forrest represents pain and suffering and brutal crimes committed against African Americans,” Lee told reporters. “That pain is very real for many Tennesseans.”
For the first time, Tennessee’s State Capitol Commission is likely to vote for the removal of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest. The monument to the Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan grand wizard has been inside the building since 1978.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order late Friday that allows local governments across the state to mandate masks to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Tennessee officials are expected to take the first step toward removing the bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from inside the Capitol. Gov. Bill Lee says he will convene the State Capitol Commission to meet and vote next week.
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee continue rising, state officials are again stressing the importance of wearing masks. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,806 new cases of coronavirus. Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey told reporters that the growth cannot be attributed to just more testing.
Gov. Bill Lee has extended Tennessee’s state of emergency for two more months. The original order was set to expire tomorrow.
All 50 states allow some form of tougher punishments for drug sales in certain areas. Tennessee’s drug-free school zones law is one of the harshest.
Gov. Bill Lee has not yet decided whether he should call for a special session. But, the Republican told reporters Tuesday it might be needed in order for lawmakers to pass a measure that would protect businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits.
In a late-night, last-minute vote, the Tennessee Senate passed what would become one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the country. The measure (SB2196/HB2263) had been championed by Gov. Bill Lee, although he said it was not a priority once the coronavirus pandemic struck in the state.