WATCH: Knox County Board of Health holds Nov. 10 meeting


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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Board of Health is holding its Nov. 10 meeting ahead of Veteran’s Day this week, where board members will discuss the county’s approach to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic amid calls for limiting the board’s power.

In fact, a Knoxville lawmaker is seeking to limit the power of six county health boards in Tennessee, including that of Knox County.

Representative Jason Zachary filed legislation on Tuesday to move the Board of Health to an advisory role and give final authority and decision-making power to the county mayor.

Rep. Zachary filed this new House Bill No. 7 on Tuesday morning, but he’s been vocal about the topic for a while. The bill’s introduction states:

“As introduced, specifies that the county mayor has the authority to establish and implement health policies that affect the entire county during a county-wide health emergency; directs the county health director, health officer, and board of health to provide advice to the mayor to develop the policies; applies only in Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Sullivan, and Madison counties.”

HB 0007, filed for introduction, Nov. 10, 2020 by Rep. Zachary

Rep. Zachary says he introduced legislation about the board of health in June, and the month prior, as he and other local lawmakers penned a letter to Knox County Health Department director Dr. Martha Buchanan requesting she follow the governor’s guidance and remove restrictions.

Knox County Board of Health agenda items:

Items on the agenda for the Nov. 10 meeting include the usual discussion of the health department’s benchmarks, the update from the UT Medical Center and a presentation from the education institutions; as well as a report of “Potential Metrics” by KCHD’s Dr. Martha Buchanan and the review and discussion of the health board’s two current regulations — for face coverings and the alcohol curfew. Dr. Buchanan will also be discussing the the length and content of health board meetings.

You can view the full agenda below:

You can follow reporter Elizabeth Kuebel as she live-tweets from the meeting:

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