The State of New York has enacted Bill A416 into law, which gives Gov. Andrew Cuomo the power to “remove” or “detain” anyone suspected of being infected with COVID-19 or other diseases.
In what used to be considered a conspiracy theory, the new bill gives New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his top health officials the unilateral power to order the “detention” of anyone suspected of having or being exposed to the coronavirus.” The bill was sponsored by State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry. In it, Mr Perry vies to “amend the public health law in relation to the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases who are potentially dangerous to the public health.” The bill states that it “will take effect on the thirtieth day after becoming law” (MSN).
Read the full legislation:
The bill grants permission to the state’s governor to order the removal and/or detention of any person suspected of carrying a contagious disease. The bill specifically states that if, “in the opinion of the governor,” there’s “clear and convincing evidence that the health of others is or may be endangered by a … suspected case, contact or carrier of a contagious disease,” the governor and “heads of local health departments” can detain the person or group of persons via “a single order.” The proposed bill specifies no time frame, location or criteria to end any detention of a sick person. Instead, it would be left “to the discretion of the governor” (BPR).
“The provisions of this section shall be utilized in the event that the governor declares a state of health emergency due to an epidemic of any communicable disease,” the bill reads. “[T]he governor or his or her delegee may, in his or her discretion, issue and seek enforcement of any other orders that he or she determines are necessary or appropriate to prevent dissemination or transmission of contagious diseases … to require an individual who has been exposed to or infected by a contagious disease to complete an appropriate, prescribed course of treatment, preventive medication or vaccination,” the bill continues. “Such person or persons shall, upon request, be afforded an opportunity to be heard[.]”
Cody Anderson, chair of the Libertarian Party of New York urged lawmakers to reject it. Mr Anderson said: “Let’s put aside for a moment the egregious privacy violation in issuing an order announcing an individual to be a health risk. This bill offers a clear and direct path to unconstitutional and indefinite detainment, on the governor’s sole authority. No US state was ever meant to have a single person acting as judge and jury, without checks or balances. If this bill is allowed to pass, that is exactly what New York will have.” He warned also: “We once again demand that legislative leaders be principled when they claim ‘My body, my choice’ – they must not pick and choose.”
Assemblyman Nick Perry said on Twitter that the bill was “initially introduced to address public health concerns related to the containment of the Ebola virus after it was discovered that Ebola-infected persons had entered the US. “There is no intent, no plan, or provisions in my bill to take away, or violate any rights or liberties that all Americans are entitled to under our constitution, either state or federal.”
The Democrat urged people to “read the bill carefully, and not accept grossly misinformed and misrepresented interpretations of this bill, even though some provisions may be applicable to the current Covid-19 pandemic. “Bear in mind also that the Ebola virus raged through many African countries before it was contained, and meant almost certain death to anyone who contracted the virus. I am convinced that most smart Americans, faced with the deadly consequences of having a person who is a carrier of a very deadly virus roaming freely through any community, would support public action to contain such a person from contaminating and potentially bringing certain death to persons they have contact with. The bill hasn’t been pushed for passage because the Ebola threat was ended thanks to a vaccine. However, many learned scientists believe that the likelihood of such a deadly pandemic is still real. And somewhere in the future there may be the need for people to be protected from a person or persons carrying a very deadly and transmittable virus. This bill is designed to ensure that our government could lawfully act to protect all the people” (The Sun).
Many critics of the bill tied it to austere measures taken by local and state officials with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, although earlier versions of the bill were introduced as far back as the 2015-2016 legislative session. “So disturbing. NY bill allows for the *removal and detention* of anyone who ‘may be a danger to public health.’ Yes, that’s purposely undefined,” conservative podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey wrote on Twitter. “Yes, it will be used, at least one day, to forcibly remove you or your children from your home for whatever reason the state sees fit.”
“This is straight up detention camp stuff in NY! A Bill giving [New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo], Health Commissioner or any ‘designated’ official full ‘power’ to remove any person/group of people from their home if deemed contagious. It’s horrifying. Wake up NY [and] Fight!” Liz Joy, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in New York in 2020, wrote on Twitter. “This is a bill up for consideration in New York State in regards to COVID-19. Read every word of this and tell me what you think of it,” Dr. David Samadi wrote on Twitter (FOX).
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OFFICE OF GOV. ANDREW CUOMO