Shelby County commissioner calls for clarification on power of county health department

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 11:23 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 12:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One Shelby County Commissioner is asking for clarification concerning the powers of the Shelby County Health Department.

Commissioner Mick Wright sent a letter to the county attorney Wednesday for clarification on the power of not only the health department but the Shelby County health officer as well.

In the letter, Wright says for the duration of the pandemic, it is unclear how the government is able to make mass orders that impact citizens regarding public health and the virus.

His letter reads:

“It has been 521 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Shelby County, Tennessee, but today we still don’t have a clear understanding of how the government derives its authority to make sweeping orders that impact all citizens. Today I am seeking clarity about the government’s powers, the lines of responsibility, and our representative authority under the Constitution. I hear from voters every day asking me to take certain actions, but it seems as if all ultimate authority is vested in an unelected officer whose powers are not subject to any democratic process. Ours is supposed to be a government of limited, representative powers. We need to insist on ways that “We the People” can have influence on the rules and regulations that govern us.”

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