Tennessee Stands, a nonprofit advocacy group, is gathering donations to fund a lawsuit against Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson with the goal of seeking an injunction on the county mask mandate and removing Anderson from office.
The plan was announced on Tennessee Stands Facebook page on Monday morning with a goal of raising $15,000 to fund the effort. The group says it intends to file the lawsuit this week.
"This will be the first lawsuit against a county mayor over the mandates and also the first to ask the judge to remove an elected official from office because of the mandates," the Tennessee Stands post reads. "It is critical that we take this step to hold elected officials accountable and let them know that these decisions to issue unconstitutional mandates WILL BE CHALLENGED and citizens of Tennessee will not sit back and simply comply."
The donations are being collected by Citizens for Limited Government and Constitutional Integrity, a Williamson County-based nonprofit.
Tennessee Stands is currently the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the State of Tennessee and Gov. Bill Lee, while the affiliated group Recall Williamson, is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Williamson County Schools system and the Franklin Special School District. Those suits also name their respective top officials, WCS Superintendent Jason Golden and FSSD Director David Snowden.
They gathered just hours after Williamson County's second mask mandate went into effect due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protesting both the mandate and a belief in a rise in government overreach.
Tennessee Stands Founder and Executive Director Gary Humble previously said in a phone call that the event drew more than 200 people to the square. Humbles said that protest was sparked by the mask mandate, but was more about what the group argues is the government operating "outside of the Constitution."
"The root of the entire thing is that we strongly feel that all of these mandates, whether it be a mask mandate, a stay-at-home order, a restriction on businesses calling folks 'essential' or 'non-essential,' that this is all unconstitutional activity," Humble said.
"Our argument is simply that it's way past time to return to a Constitutional form of government and we are operating way out of bounds right now," he said.
Humble previously said that he's spoken to people across the state and that he's had private discussions in the homes of like-minded Tennesseans.
That demonstration was approved by the City of Franklin, highlighting the challenges in actually enforcing a mandate that is meant to curb the rise in local COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
On Friday Anderson extended the current mask mandate through Dec. 29 to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As previously reported, Williamson County Medical Center recently announced a 50 percent increase of inpatient COVID-19 hospitalizations and Maury Regional Medical Center suspended elective procedures.
The Williamson County mayor's office was unaware of the group's plans and did not have a comment. This story will be updated.