Rep. Zachary files bill to limit local health boards authority

Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Rep. Jason Zachary is seeking to limit the power of the largest six county health boards in Tennessee and give the power to make countywide health policy during a health emergency exclusively to those counties’ mayors.

Zachary, R-Knoxville, on Tuesday filed his first bill for the 112th General Assembly, House Bill 7.

The bill would move the health boards for Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Sullivan, and Madison counties to an advisory role and give those counties’ mayors the authority to “establish and implement health policies that affect the entire county during a countywide health emergency.”

Under the legislation the implementation of such policies will be made under advisement from the county health director and/or county health officer.

In May, Zachary and several other state representatives penned an open letter to Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan requesting the county follow the governor’s guidance and remove additional COVID-19 restrictions.

The new Legislature will meet for the first time on Jan. 12.

This is a developing story and we will provide updates as they become available.

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