Knox County Commission Delays Vote Finalizing Eliminating Powers of County’s Board of Health

The Knox County Commission opted to delay the final vote to eliminate or maintain Knox County Board of Health’s powers. The commission voted on Monday to postpone the deciding vote for 90 days.

If passed, the measure would revert all decision-making powers to Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. Early last month, the commission took the first step to dissolve the Board of Health and reconstitute it as an advisory board. As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, the proposal sponsor, Commissioner Kyle Ward, has argued that the measure would protect the community’s financial health.

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Knox County Commission Votes to Strip Its Board of Health’s Powers Over Policy

Knox County Commission voted to strip the county’s board of health of its powers to issue mandates on Tuesday. Instead of having the power to impose regulations, the Knox County Board of Health will be limited to serving as an advisory group. After a heated, divided exchange lasting eight hours, the commission voted 6-4 in favor of diminishing the board’s authority, with one commissioner abstaining their vote.

The decision followed the board’s latest regulations limiting social gatherings and in-person dining. At the beginning of this month, the board imposed a social gathering limit of 10 people within 360 square feet, with limited exceptions including nursing homes.  Two weeks later, the board elected to limit restaurants and bars to 50 percent capacity, and impose a curfew limiting in-person services lasting from 10 pm to 5 am.

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Tennessee Stands Rallies Against Knox County Health Board Mandate

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. 

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