A group promoting individual liberty rallied Saturday afternoon to strip the Knox County Board of Health of its mandate powers.
“No elected politician, or in this case an appointed board, should have the right to decide whether your business is valuable,” Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles told The Tennessee Star.
Ogles spoke at the rally hosted by Tennessee Stands on Saturday afternoon.
Tennessee Stands, which describes itself as “a nonprofit social advocacy organization that serves to protect the individual liberties of all Tennesseans as stated in the Tennessee State Constitution and given to us by God,” organized the rally to push the Knox County Commission to vote in favor of an ordinance that would strip the Knox County Board of Health of its mandate powers, an return it strictly to an advisory role.
The group believes that the Knox County Board of Health has overstepped its boundaries during the COVID-19 pandemic with mask mandates and forced business closures.
If a supermajority of the 11-member County Commission votes in favor of a second reading of the ordinance, a special session will be convened to vote on the board’s mandate power before the end of the year. The vote on the second reading will be held Monday.
“We need to make some noise and tell them to VOTE YES and move the Knox County Board of Health into an advisory role. No more mandates from an unelected board!” an invitation to the rally said.
The Star spoke with Ogles by phone before the event.
“We’ve now set a precedent that during an emergency that state laws and the Constitution don’t matter,” Ogles said. “If I wanted to be ruled by a King, I’d move to Great Britain. But I don’t want to be ruled by a King. I live in Tennessee.”
Ogles and Tennessee Stands are also concerned with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, which Ogles says should not be mandatory.
“This would apply to masks, this would apply to business, and this would apply to the vaccine,” he said. “No one should be forced to take a vaccine against their will.”
“I would encourage everyone in the state of Tennessee to reach out to state legislators,” he said. “The state legislature has authority to put an end to unconstitutional mandates. They meet in January. They have a job to do, and we’re asking them to do it.”
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