Tennessee Senate Committee Approves Amended Bill Making County Health Boards Advisory Only, Prohibiting Vaccine Passports


On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee approved a bill to make county health boards as advisory bodies only, and to prohibit mandatory vaccine passports. The bill was introduced by State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), and also sponsored by State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

Currently, the components limiting county health boards’ powers and prohibiting vaccine passport mandates aren’t listed as part of the bill. They were introduced as an amendment in the House on Tuesday. Additionally, the bill would relegate local health authority to the state and limit county health officers’ quarantine-mandating powers – individuals and places that aren’t known to have contributed to the spread of a disease may not be quarantined.

Bowling explained that county health boards have gone beyond their designated powers.

“These health boards are in counties that are appointed boards and currently they’re making decisions about a lot of things that kinda are beyond their realm, and the ideas of many people[,]” said Bowling.

Concerning the possibility of indirectly mandating the COVID-19 vaccine through required proof of vaccination, Bowling cited Governor Bill Lee’s statements on the vaccine passports issued Tuesday.

“I oppose vaccine passports. The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement,” wrote Lee. “I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans’ health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision.”

A Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) spokesperson testified during the hearing to acknowledge that this amendment came directly from the governor’s office and had their office’s full cooperation.

According to the TDH spokesperson, the amendment would only limit governments from requiring businesses to require vaccine passports. It wouldn’t limit businesses from requiring them voluntarily.

The TDH spokesperson clarified that they didn’t know of any local governments currently requiring or planning to require vaccine passports.

The House Health Subcommittee recommended the bill as amended for passage on Monday – it is now awaiting consideration by the whole committee.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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5 Thoughts to “Tennessee Senate Committee Approves Amended Bill Making County Health Boards Advisory Only, Prohibiting Vaccine Passports”

  1. Ron Welch

    The Tennessee Constitution Declaration of Rights should absolutely forbid any “vaccine passport” or “mandatory vaccines” in our State. We should just claim them as necessary just as persons claim or “plead the 5th Amendment ” to remain silent or not speak or answer any potentially incriminating. The 4th Amendment and Article I, Section 7 of our State Declaration of Independence has the right to “be secure in our persons”. Also the 9th Amendment would include “healthcare is a right” which means it’s a matter of personal choice and exercise of individual freedom. We should claim those rights against any mandates of the criminal impositions of the elite ruling class.

  2. LM

    I agree with 83ragtop50. The RINOs are placating us again while playing us all for fools.

  3. JG2284

    I would encourage you to watch this video that explains the difference between DeSantis ban and Abbotts ban. They are nowhere near similar:


  4. John Bumpus

    “Tennessee Senate Committee Approves Amended Bill Making County Health Boards Advisory Only, Prohibiting Vaccine Passports”

    Excellent action by this committee of the Tennessee Senate.

  5. 83ragtop50

    This sounds good on the surface, but as I read it nothing is included that prohibits the state health commission from exercising unconstitutional rights over Tennesseans.