A Mayor for All Citizens: Maury County’s Andy Ogles Talks About His Bi-Partisan Role and Abuses of Emergency Powers

A Mayor for All Citizens: Maury County’s Andy Ogles Talks About His Bi-Partisan Role and Abuses of Emergency Powers

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to talk about what’s important about being a mayor and the testimony he will provide in the General Assembly regarding the exercising of emergency powers during COVID.

Leahy: In studio with Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Andy,  I’m telling you when we have the live stream video camera where everybody can see what’s happens off-air. What happens off-air is a little bit more fun. Well we have fun all the time.

Ogles: We have conversations with jokes, we laugh. Of course, when you come and came in at the break, we were literally cutting up 30 seconds ago. but that’s what that’s part of the fun. Of course, you’ll have to shave.

Leahy: I know. This is why it takes a skilled to run for public office and part of the skill is you have to like get up and you know fix yourself up and look good every day. I’m way past that. (Laughs) I just can’t do it every day, but when we get the video stream we’ll have to do that.

Ogles: I’ll take issue with that. I don’t know that running for public office takes skill. I think you just have to have… a problem. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: It’s not a problem. You have to have a commitment to a set of ideas. And you have to be persistent. I think. What would be really hard for me is as it’s just you and me talking right? You know when you’re in public office and this is one of the reasons because there was a period of time when I was a kid, I was certain I would be president of the United States. I was certain then as I became an adult and I saw what you have to do to be elected and then when you’re elected here’s the problem.

And you’re very good at this, but I would not be good at this at all. You have a duty to every single resident of Maury County. Every single resident of Maury County can come up and asked you something and you have a duty to respond to that right? You have to be a very patient and kind person to do that. And I’m not that patient. And I’m sometimes not that kind unfortunately.

Ogles: And I think that’s a good point. Obviously, in Maury County the county mayor it’s a partisan position to run as a Republican. Known across the state as a very conservative Republican. But like you say, I have 100,000 people that live in Maury County. I’m the county mayor for all of those people. For all of them.

Leahy: And even if there’s somebody in Maury County who absolutely is let’s say even if far lefty or just somebody that just doesn’t like you right you still have a duty to that person.

Ogles: But you know when you’re making decisions I’m looking at what’s in the best interest of the whole. And sometimes whether it’s the radical left or perhaps at times they even the radical right they can be the loudest voices although they’re the minority of the voices. It’s a small fragment of the 100,000

Leahy: But they’re enthusiastic and vocal.

Ogles: That’s right. And you see elected officials cave to this very loud voice that represents a very small portion of society. And you see that happen at the local level at the county and then all the way up to national politics. Look at the Democratic Party and how it’s been hijacked by a very vocal left that doesn’t represent most of America.

Leahy: I was on a call with somebody very well known and they said let’s face it. The Democratic party is run by an insane 10 percent of the population. And my words, not yours. But yes, they’re loud and they’re insane and because they’re loud and repetitive now we have a lot of insane things happening as part of public policy. Now, you mentioned something interesting that you actually are going to be testifying before the Committee of Tennessee General Assembly later today. What will you be testifying about?

Ogles: Throughout COVID there have been emergency powers exercised. Some would argue myself included that emergency powers have been abused. And as part of that, you’ve had emergency powers that have been delegated down to mayors and municipalities.

Leahy: So let me just stop. You when you say that the governor has delegated emergency powers down to mayors of counties.

Ogles: That’s correct.

Leahy: Is there a legal authority for that delegation?

Ogles: There is yes, and no. It depends on the timing and words matter. We’ve talked about this before on the show. State law, the TCA code, Tennessee code annotated.

Leahy: Whenever you see something like TCA with the little squiggles and then the numbers that’s the actual law of Tennessee. Tennessee code annotated means every law that’s passed then is put into a structure and given a number and a title and that’s how you know what the law is today. It’s updated every year.

Ogles: That’s right. The law, the TCA code is a contract between your government and the people of Tennessee. And so words matter. There’s a whole section of the legal profession that is based around contract law. And so you have in state law a phrasing that specifies when during an emergency the governor can delegate powers.

And it has to be prior to or threat of an emergency. And again, I know that’s kind of nuanced but it’s significant. And the reason is is that only the general assembly can give me my authority, not the governor. And so what we’ve had is during COVID and in the name of COVID to save the world, we violated state law and nobody’s done anything about it and I’m quite upset about it.

Leahy: And you should be because it gets back to this. What is the nature of the contract between citizens and the government? It is the rule of law.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: And so when the rule of law is violated by those charged with the implementation of the rule of law that undercuts the very core of our social organization.

Ogles: And I would say that they’re the guardians of set law. And so at any point in time and you look at history that when the contract with the people the subjects you want to hire subjects of the government t becomes one-sided are the guardians who are there to enforce and protect the law to make sure that the laws are applied evenly and inappropriately suddenly can change those at will and abuse them at will you no longer have a contract right?

We’ve slipped into this totalitarian type of mentality in the name of COVID and during of all the laws of all the times your emergency powers law should be carefully constructed and reviewed. If you’ve ever been in the military or in law enforcement after you have an engagement. There’s an after-action report to look at how you engaged.

What could you have done better? What were your missed opportunities? And what’s not happening yet is what has happened during COVID-19 have happened, what should not have happened, and that’s part of why I’m going to be at the legislature. There some things that have happened during COVID that should not have happened. And we’ve got to fix it.

Leahy: I agree entirely with that. Have you testified before the Tennessee General Assembly ever before?

Ogles: I have, yes.

Leahy: What is that like? How does that happen? How much time do you have? Are people nice to you? Are they mean to you? Do they yell and scream at you? Or do they listen politely?

Ogles: You could always have a committee hearing that goes sideways, but that would be the exception, not the rule. It’s very orderly and typically they’re asking questions. You may have someone who’s passionate about an issue but this is pretty straightforward. You’re talking about the legal construct. The words are in black and white. It’s really not up to debate. And I think what you have is you have some folks whether being the general assembly or maybe perhaps advising the governor that just isn’t familiar with the law and exactly how it’s written, whereas I am.

Leahy: So when you go up there, they have separate committee rooms right?

Ogles: Yes.

Leahy: And typically you wait a period of time right before the chairman calls you in?

Ogles: Yeah, so you’ll have the state representative or state senator that’s the sponsor of the bill and the sponsor will get up and give a presentation to the chairman.

Leahy: Typically when a bill is introduced it has a sponsor and then it is assigned to a committee. And it’s a committee that decides whether to move it out or kill it.

Ogles: It has a life cycle if you will. It goes from subcommittee to full committee. From there it will be calendars or calendar and rule then it would go to the floor etc. But during that process of evaluating the details of the legislation sometimes you’ll have sponsors of a bill that will bring experts or just key witnesses in. Almost like a courtroom to give testimony to the validity or invalidity of a piece of legislation.

Leahy: And as a county mayor you would be an expert on the emergency powers.

Ogles: And how it was applied.

Leahy: And how it was applied.

Ogles: That’s right.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Andy Ogles” by Andy Ogles. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by Peggy Anderson. CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Reviews the Emergency Powers Granted to Governor Lee by Statute but Limited by The Tennessee Constitution

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles Reviews the Emergency Powers Granted to Governor Lee by Statute but Limited by The Tennessee Constitution

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio who reviewed the Tennessee Constitution by articulating the specific guard rails of which the governor may exercise emergency powers.

Leahy: We are having an anti-lockdown party with California Refugee Mark Pulliam in the studio and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio. Andy, you were talking a little bit about what emergency powers the governor of Tennessee really has under the Constitution and we were talking about the language of the Constitution. I wonder if you could read what the Constitution says again about those powers.

Ogles: Yeah. So before we get to the Emergency Powers Act, Article 7 Section 1  Tennessee’s Constitution states and this paragraph is talking about your constitutional officers. I as the county mayor the CEO of Maury County, I am the chief constitutional officer for the county.

And it says, “Their qualifications and duties shall be prescribed by the General Assembly.”

Period. And that’s it.

There’s a period.

And Mark Pulliam, you’re an attorney you can talk about the importance of where the period are where the comma is in a sentence. But if you any question or doubt as to who has domain over your constitutional officers in the counties the next sentence, the last sentence of the paragraph states any officer shall be removed from malfeasance or neglect of duty as prescribed by the General Assembly.

Period.

Leahy: Another period not a comma. Not a “but,” not an “and,” and not an “if.”

Ogles: The governor has the powers or it’s the voters during an election or it’s the general assembly. Period. That’s who gives me or takes authority as county mayor. Now when you go to 58 – 2107 that’s the Emergency Powers Act. It states very clearly that an executive order as prescribed by the governor has an effect of the law period. It just says it and it says such executive orders proclamations and rules have the force and effect of law. However, under 58 – 2107 there’s some caveats.

And they are lettered and numbered. And when you get down to H, it talks about those dang constitutional officers again. I’m a subdivision of the state of Tennessee. And it says the governor can delegate new authority to me. And again the words matter. And again Mark you’re an attorney so you can speak to this. But prior to an emergency or threat of an emergency. In other words before. I can’t be given a new authority during a state of emergency.

Why? Because the General Assembly has the final say. And so one would presume that under a state of an emergency your General Assembly could not meet and could not affect their duties there go any new authority granted to me must fall under their domain, not during a time where the governor has assumed total authority. And so it’s nuanced. It’s nerdy. It’s convoluted. I get it. But it is in black and white. And if you take the time to read it, you’re like, holy crap.

Leahy: So how then does the governor have the legal authority to give county mayors the right to determine whether or not masks will be mandated or not.

Ogles: He doesn’t.

Leahy: I don’t think he does either.

Ogles: A mask is by definition by our federal government is now considered a medical device. As a county mayor have no authority under the law of the state of Tennessee to prescribe a medical device.

Leahy: We have to now turn to counselor Mark Pulliam. What’s your take on that? You spent 30 years as an attorney in California. What’s your take on that?

Pulliam: Well, we have constitutions for a reason. They are the rule book of how elected officials interact with each other, what powers they have, and which powers they don’t have. And we have to take these rules seriously because if we don’t take them seriously, then elected officials can do whatever they want.

And a lot of people and this was probably the worst thing that came out of this COVID crisis is people sort of saying well, this is different. This is an emergency. We don’t really have to pay attention to the rules. Well, it’s exactly when you have a so-called emergency that the rule book becomes especially important because in normal times we can trust the government. But not an emergency.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Andy Ogles Weighs in on the Unconstitutionality of Mask Mandates By State Governors and County Mayors

Mayor Andy Ogles Weighs in on the Unconstitutionality of Mask Mandates By State Governors and County Mayors

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to weigh in on the unconstitutionality of lengthy mask mandates with limitless scope implemented by several state governors and county mayors across Tennessee.

Leahy: We are in studio Mark Pulliam the California Refugee and the Blogger at Misrule of Law from Blount County. He has driven all the way down here to join us today. And then driving up from Maury County who is the mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles. It takes you about an hour and five minutes to get up here. I appreciate your taking that time. You must have left about 4:45 a.m. in the morning.

Ogles: I sure did. You know I got up early. And in fact, I texted you saying I’m en route.

Leahy: In route.

Ogles: It’s good to be here and to be with Mark. And again I’m a student today learning from you guys. When I was driving up, I was listening to you guys talk about the controversy surrounding the University of Tennessee and some of the curriculum that’s really permeating the Collegiate schools in Tennessee. And I see that as an issue as we go forward.

I’ve got children that are 13, 11, and 5. I’m terrified but they are going to a Christian school. They’re going to a school that has a classical education. But when we turn them loose into college that when they when I get them back four years later I won’t know who they are. And I think that’s a real fear that any parent should have in today’s world.

Leahy: I think you’re exactly right about that. Also in the last segment Andy you said something very intriguing to me. (Ogles chuckles) I want to explore that a little bit. So I opened with the idea that county governments may have difficulties dealing with the federal government. And you said and I think it’s probably true. And I wonder if you could elaborate on this. County governments are now also having difficulties dealing with the state government. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Ogles: Yeah. Obviously, almost a year now with COVID we’ve been under a state of emergency here in Tennessee for just short of a year. They’ve been extended to the end of April so will breach the year mark with the state of emergency. That creates complications for state government as we try to manage our economy and our schools and our health department.

When you have a state of emergency that has usurped some of that local control now everything gets a little more complicated because you’re working with the state or you’re at the behest of the state. and so it’s been frustrating. For me, I’m all about liberty and low taxes and things of that nature. So the idea that we would have a mask mandate or that someone would be required to have a vaccine that’s really unproven.

Now, I’m not saying that they haven’t tested it but it hasn’t gone through the years of testing that a normal vaccine would. Now look if you’re high risk go talk to your doctor. That’s a choice that you have to make. You make that decision for yourself, but I shouldn’t be required or be able to require you to take it when you’re having to sign a waiver giving away all sorts of rights as far as if you’re damaged by said vaccine.

In fact, there was a poll as I was driving and I was flipping channels talking about that roughly 45 percent of Americans say that they’re not going to get the vaccine. So this idea of zero COVID that we’re going to be totally able to eradicate This virus is a myth. and it’s more about control than it is anything else. And I’m not saying that the precautions aren’t applicable in certain situations. But again, these mandates have to stop.

Leahy: Let’s talk about the constitutionality of these emergency powers exercised by various governors around the country and are still here in Tennessee. I have always felt that the emergency power has been subject to abuse. I’m still not convinced that it’s constitutional. What are your thoughts on that?

Ogles: Whether it’s a local government or in the state, when you think of an emergency you think of something that will be regionalized to a part of a state. So think about Katrina or if you had an earthquake along the New Madrid fault. It’s going to be localized to West Tennessee or if you had a dam breach at Normandy. It’s going to be you know, the Cumberland Plateau, Southern, and Middle, Tennessee.

There is an occasion where a governor or your localities might need a state of emergency, but it’s imperative that these states of emergency be short in duration and scope. And what we’ve seen under COVID and not just here in Tennessee, but across the country that these states of emergency are neither short and neither are they limited in scope as far as what the governors are doing even going so far as to changing election law when the Constitution is clear how elections should be managed.

So you’re seeing breaches of constitutions not just here in the state of Tennessee, but across the country. And this is a very scary precedent. When we are a nation of law and order. A nation of rules. and a nation with the Constitution. That’s what protects you and I. And if you are a liberal, that Constitution protects you. If you’re a conservative the Constitution protects you. And once that goes away now you’re going to a situation where it’s totalitarian and whoever has the most power becomes the dictator of the moment.

Leahy: Yeah, and the governors that are exercising these emergency powers, which I agree with you should be short in duration and limited in scope. It seems to me now that they want to make them permanent and use them to basically squelch the individual liberty of the citizens of the state. That’s what it looks like to me. Will we see these emergency powers and in the state of Tennessee next month?

Ogles: (Laughs) I don’t know. If I had that crystal ball and go buy a lottery ticket. It doesn’t seem that way. When you look at the numbers, the numbers are down. We now have a third vaccine that’s coming to market. From a protocol standpoint the therapeutics that when you go to the doctor, they have different medications that they can give you now depending on the severity of your COVID symptoms etc.

And so we’re in a different place today than we were a year ago. We said this when I was on the show a couple of weeks ago. March and April of last year was terrifying. We didn’t know what we were dealing with. We didn’t know the effects of how it would mutate would it change and affect our children? But we now know what it’s going to do. It’s a virus.

When you look at At Maur County, for example, at it just sheer population where 16th and population in the state of Tennessee, you know, where we are currently and numbers of active cases? We’re 16th. Why? Because it’s a virus and it spreads based on population. We don’t have a mask mandate in Maury County. We’ve never had a mask mandate and Maury County.

We’re not going to have a mask mandate in Maury County because it’s unconstitutional. But I don’t need an advanced degree in medicine to understand that a virus is a virus and viruses spread the way viruses do. And I know that’s a very oversimplification but the data over this last year spells out masks, it’s not about masks. It’s about personal responsibility. The three of us are sitting in here in this studio and we are socially distancing.

If we want to shake hands, use your hand sanitizer. Common sense kind of stuff. If I don’t feel well, I’m going to stay home. I mean this isn’t rocket science folks. It’s the same thing if I was coming down with the flu. If my kids have the flu and I suddenly don’t feel well guess what? I’m going to assume that I have the flu I’m going to call my doctor. I don’t know why we have to take away liberties and the age of a virus that has a 99 percent survival rate. Anyway, I’ll stop.

Leahy: No no. Don’t stop. We are smiling because I want to follow and jump in on this Mark as you wish. So one of the things I want to follow up on. You said something very important there. Mask mandates are unconstitutional. I agree with that and yet we do see that masks to me it’s a bit of theater. Everybody in science recognizes that a mask is not going to stop the penetration of a very very small virus. It’s just not going to happen.

It may stop a droplet but having said that, if you look at the polling about 60 percent of the people support wearing of masks. But that is I think a bit of just about visible theatrics and not anything that is related to science. At least from what I can tell. Alex Berenson at The New York Times writes about it. You’re familiar with Alex Berenson Mark.

He’s a very former New York Times reporter and he’s written extensively on this. And I applaud you as mayor of Maury County for not using a mask mandate. Now I look at other mayors and the governor and they say well mask, mask, mask. I’ve always thought it was unconstitutional to do that. I agree with you on that.

Pulliam: In a previous segment we were talking about federalism. So when people talk about unconstitutional they automatically think of the U.S. Constitution, but every state has a constitution in that state constitution protects our liberties vis-à-vis state officials. And so when people point out that the state constitution does not authorize these kinds of dictates, we’ve got to take that seriously.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio