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Gov. Bill Lee signs executive order offering aid to Sevier County wildfire victims

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a sweeping executive order Wednesday that should offer some help to those affected by Sevier County’s recent wildfires.
Governor Bill Lee
Governor Bill Lee(WSMV)
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a sweeping executive order Wednesday that should offer some help to those affected by Sevier County’s recent wildfires. The order also officially declared the wildfires a “major disaster” and issued a state of emergency for the area.

The executive order is aimed at waiving fees and license requirements for those in Sevier County. The order is split into five parts, each suspending a piece of earlier Tennessee legislation that might make it difficult for people in the area to get back to normal.

The first and second parts of the order waive fees that might be charged to replace a vehicle’s title, driver’s license, or photo ID if they were destroyed or damaged in the fires.

Part three of the order should help those working with insurance companies after the fires. Under the order, Tennessee-licensed insurance companies are directed to make “reasonable efforts” to assist policy-holders that might have trouble paying insurance premiums because they were displaced or affected by the fires.

The fourth section of the order suspends certain licenses for vacation property owners with the goal of making it easier for them to offer lodging for those helping in the aftermath of the fires or those that were displaced because of the fires.

Part five of the order waives certain requirements for those actively helping in the cleanup after the fire. Under the order, anyone with “sufficient experience and knowledge in the field” is allowed to assist in the cleanup efforts.

The order will remain in effect until May 14, except for part three, which is set to hold for 60 days. The entire order is available below:

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