Gov. Lee Visits Southern Border: “This is a National Security Crisis”

News, Press Release
Southern Boarder

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Over the weekend, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee traveled to the U.S. Southern Border to meet with Tennessee National Guards troops and receive briefings regarding the skyrocketing rate of illegal crossings and criminal activities.

“Tennesseans serve on the front lines of the Southern border crisis, and it has rapidly escalated to not just a matter of public safety but a threat to our country’s national security,” said Gov. Lee. “Americans owe these troops a debt of gratitude for their service, and the federal government owes Americans a plan to restore both our border security and our standing as a global power.”

Tennessee Adjutant General Jeff Holmes accompanied Gov. Lee and First Lady Maria Lee to spend time with troops and thank them for their service. Gov. Lee and Major Gen. Holmes also participated in a series of briefings regarding illegal crossings with origins from 56 countries, drug seizures and other exploitive crimes like human trafficking.

“What I saw at the border is unsustainable for our country and should be number one priority for national security,” said Gov. Lee. “Tennessee will always step up and serve, but we need immediate reinforcements, like a finished border wall, to ensure our men and women in uniform have the tools they need to do their job.”

Tennessee National Guard serve at the Southern border in the following support capacities:

  • 269th Military Police Company – Routinely augments law enforcement by conducting training and providing a presence along the border
  • 913th Engineer Company – Capabilities lend to myriad road building efforts and border wall projects
  • 2-151 Aviation Battalion – Provides an aerial platform to assist Customs and Border Protection with a number of their logistical and operational priorities

Gov. Bill Lee introduces 2021 legislative initiatives

News, Press Release

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee outlined key administration bills in his 2021 legislative package.

“We have a number of conservative proposals for consideration that will reduce crime, support strong families and get our economy back up to speed,” said Gov. Lee. “These proposals will also position us well to continue the recovery that has already begun across our state.”

In addition to legislative proposals, Gov. Lee’s programmatic initiatives are outlined in his State of the State address.

Key legislative highlights are included below:

Supporting Tennessee Families

Foster Youth Reach Act, SB0722/HB0139: provides higher education support for youth aging out of the foster care system through a pilot outreach program.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Proposal, SB0751/HB0142: supports families in need by reforming our TANF program to promote economic mobility and improved outcomes for recipients.

Supporting Quality Education

Common Core Supplemental Materials, SB0769/HB0782: prohibits the local selection of supplemental education materials by schools and districts that are aligned to Common Core, closing a loophole in state law.

Serving Tennessee Heroes

STRONG Act Expansion, SB0755/HB0083: enhances education opportunities for Tennessee National Guard members by expanding tuition reimbursement to include technical certificates and master’s programs.

National Guard Reemployment Act, SB0754/HB0082: ensures Tennessee National Guard members retain employment after returning from active state duty.

Volunteer Firefighter Reimbursement, SB0778/HB0772: provides $600 payments to volunteer firefighters who successfully complete forty hours of in-service training.

Strengthening Tennessee Businesses and Workforce

Tennessee Apprenticeship Act, SB0752/HB0771: expands access and improves quality of apprenticeship programs in Tennessee by registering apprenticeships through the state rather than the federal government.

Business Supports and Taxation, SB0775/HB0776: supports economic recovery of Tennessee small businesses by permitting the deduction of state business relief payments from the state’s franchise and excise tax.

Entertainment Tax Credit, SB0736/HB0141: creates a sales and use tax exemption and a franchise and excise tax credit for film production in Tennessee.

Building Safe Neighborhoods

Constitutional Carry, SB0765/HB0786: advances Second Amendment rights by allowing law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun without a permit while enhancing penalties for firearm theft.

Reentry Success Act, SB0768/HB0785: improves outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals by increasing transparency in the parole process and enhancing practices that support success post-release.

Alternatives to Incarceration, SB0767/HB0784: expands treatment services and community-based supervision for offenders as alternatives to incarceration.

Addressing Foreign Influences and Confucius Institutes on College Campuses

Transparency in Foreign Investment Act, SB1191/HB1238: requires greater transparency for any foreign investment activity on college campuses, particularly programs and partnerships with Confucius Institutes that have concerning ties to communist regimes.

Gov. Lee Announces New COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Tool

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vaccine eligibility

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced a new digital tool to help inform Tennesseans when they will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” said Gov. Lee. “This tool is yet another step we’re taking to provide Tennesseans with critical information as our vaccine supply increases and more phases become eligible.”

The eligibility tool allows users to opt-in to receive updates and notifications about their vaccine phase and provides risk-based and age-based phase information at the county level.

Vaccine phases and the current estimated vaccine timeline can be found here.

The eligibility tool and COVID-19 information can be accessed at

Image courtesy of Christian Emmer.

Gov. Lee Announces Reemployment Act to Support Tennessee National Guard

News, Press Release
reemployment act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee today announced the first bill of his administration’s legislative package for the 2021 General Assembly. The Reemployment Act from the Department of the Military will provide reemployment protections to Tennessee National Guard service members who are called to state active duty.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be offering a preview of policy proposals that will streamline Tennessee government and ensure that we are good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Gov. Lee. “Our National Guard servicemen and women have been front and center in our COVID-19 response and this bill will support their efforts and help ensure the very best continue to serve in the Tennessee National Guard.”

The Reemployment Act will:

  • Amend Tennessee law to provide reemployment protections for service members called to state active duty;
  • Close the gap in benefits by providing state active duty benefits more closely aligned to those provided while in federal status.
  • Keep the Tennessee National Guard competitive in recruiting top talent that might otherwise serve in a neighboring state National Guard that does provide protection

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