The first bits of news I heard upon waking this morning were enough to pop my eyes open without caffeine. The first one was enough to make my feet hit the floor!
Massachusetts legislature fast-tracked a bill updating what the state can do in the event of a public health emergency - Senate Bill 2028, better known as the Pandemic and Disaster Preparation and Response Bill. In fact, it passed the Senate unanimously.
This bill gives the governor and the health commissioner to authority act in the public’s interest during any kind of medical emergency such as an H1N1 outbreak. The commissioner will have the discretion to close or evacuate public buildings, enter private property and isolate or quarantine people, and to get and distribute medicines and vaccines.
WHAT? Enter private property and quarantine people? To administer medicines and vaccines? What the heck?! Are YOUR eyes opened now? They can enter a private resident of an individual whose only offense is that they are sick? What kind of insanity is this? What kind of Gestapo, has Massachusetts sanctioned?
We’re not done… oh, no, there’s more! There is a severe penalty for non-compliance to the quarantine or inoculation. For not following the rules as directed by the health commissioner, there’s a fine of up to $1,000 per day of non-compliance and 30 days in jail.
The bill also allows for a registry of volunteers (hmmm, not medical personnel?) to be created and put into service in the event of an outbreak, and the commissioner will also be able to use volunteers from other states. Hmmm….somehow I missed this back in July, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved the use of the military in regional teams to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of H1N1 this fall. The military teams would be assigned to work with FEMA.
I guess I was too busy paying attention to the railroading of healthcare through the Senate before the summer recess to catch this information. But what is so scary is that these Massachusetts legislators have not only totally ignored the Constitution of the Constitution of the United States, they trampled on it. And Secretary Gates has opened wide the door for the use of Martial Law in Massachusetts to enforce this law if the Massachusetts health commissioner requests help.
Let’s get real here for a moment and take stock of what this means. This is a major intrusion by the government into personal decisions and onto private property. The entering of a private residence by the government’s militia to enforce a quarantine or force inoculation or medication of individuals… face it, it’s a blatant invasion of our privacy and is a toe-hold into stripping individuals of their rights to make their own personal choices and decisions? How can this happen in the US?
This bill hasn’t passed the Massachusetts House as yet, but will possibly be up for vote this week. I’m going to keep my eye on how this flies in Massachusetts, and you should as well. Surely some intelligent, Constitution-loving group in Massachusetts will contest this law as unconstitutional, as it certainly is.
To those of us outside of Massachusetts, I implore you, let’s make sure that this “Trojan Horse” type of legislation doesn’t infect our own states, or any similar legislation that removes our individual privacy rights. This is really important… REALLY important.