Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Legislation filed to limit power of Tennessee’s metro health departments

By Vivian Jones, The Center Square, Nov 13, 2020-  A bill that would limit the power of Tennessee’s six metropolitan health departments has been filed for consideration by Knoxville Republican Rep. Jason Zachary, and it has gained the support of House leadership. 

The state’s six metropolitan health departments have issued public health orders since March to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including requiring the use of masks in their jurisdictions. The officials behind those orders are unelected, however, and not directly responsible to their constituents for their decisions.

Zachary’s legislation, House Bill 7, would give county mayors – not metro health departments – “exclusive authority to establish and implement” policies in response to public health crises. County health directors and boards of public health would be able to advise the mayor on the orders. (link)

Rod's Comment:  I support this and would support similar reforms at all levels of government in numerous fields.  Elected officials should be accountable for policy decisions.  Department heads or cabinet secretaries, or generals should have an advisory roll and a smart executive will often listen to expert advise but the elected chief executive,  answerable to the electorate,  not unelected technocrats, answerable to no one, should  make policy. 

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