Shelby County Government sues Gov. Bill Lee over executive order

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County Government has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Bill Lee over Executive Order 84, saying the order is unlawful.

Executive Order 84 allowed parents to opt-out their children from wearing a mask in schools K-12.

This order takes precedence over the Shelby County mask mandate that was put in place August 20.

On the same day the COVID-19 Task Force announced one-third of all active coronavirus infections in Shelby County are in children, Shelby County government filed a lawsuit against the governor.

The Shelby County Health Department’s most recent health directive says everyone must mask up indoors. But Lee’s executive order gives parents in the Volunteer State the ability to opt their kids out of wearing a mask in school. Shelby County government contends the governor’s order violates the 14th amendment, which says, “No state...shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

“You’re removing masks from the most vulnerable citizens in our community, and those are our students under age 12,” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner. “And you want us to say it’s logical, rational, and reasonable? It’s not. And we will argue in court that it violates the law.”

Turner said Shelby County will ask a judge to suspend Lee’s order until the case goes to court. The outcome of this suit could impact all schools in Tennessee, not just in Shelby County.

Action News 5 reached out to Lee’s office for comment and was told, “we cannot comment on pending litigation.”

View the lawsuit below:

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