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Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
January 11, 2002
Model State Emergency Health Powers Act
ALERT:  Governor's 'Emergency' Power to Control Your Lives

ALERT UPDATE:
States Begin Work On Emergency Health Powers Act

EHPA: REPORT FROM THE STATES 
When the CDC and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson sent out ringing endorsements of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (EHPA), states began planning. EHPA's principal author Lawrence Gostin, a former member of Clinton's discredited Task Force on Health Care Reform, recently reported that EHPA has already been introduced in 14 states. HHS expects all states to adopt all or at least part of the model bill. This unprecedented assault on our constitutional rights is coming to your state.

The development of the EHPA actually began in the spring of 2001, not as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11. However, states are now considering the legislation because of the increased fears of bioterrorism.

Nevada legislators held a study committee hearing on January 8 to discuss the EHPA, but lawmakers had already made changes to "soften" Nevada's version in response to criticisms by Eagle Forum and other privacy advocates. State Senator Ray Rawson, chair of the study committee, has even proposed the need for a special session to enact the law.

In Ohio, several state agencies, including the Governor's office, are currently determining how much of the model act to adopt. A proposal is expected next month, but a debate remains as to whether the state really needs a new layer of laws to handle an emergency.


REVISED MODEL BILL STILL EGREGIOUS 
Despite issuing a revised draft on December 21, many problems remain in the model bill. EHPA would bring about government takeover of the health industry by the states, instead of by the federal government.

The revised bill still gives government authorities greater access to personal health information and greater control over individuals' health-care decisions. Anyone refusing testing, treatment, or vaccination could be isolated or quarantined. Private property could be seized and destroyed. The Act would not preempt federal laws but would preempt "inconsistent" state laws. The Governor would still have significant, far-reaching powers. For instance, he would appoint the Members and Chairman of the Public Health Emergency Planning Commission and could declare a "public health emergency" without consulting with public health authorities. Neither the Governor nor the public health authorities could be held liable for deaths, injuries, or damage to property.

Read the revised EHPA (Dec. 21) at: http://www.publichealthlaw.net/MSEHPA/MSEHPA2.pdf


ACTION ITEM 
No public health emergency justifies such draconian infringements on our liberties. Find out what your Governor and legislators have in store for your state.

Urge your state legislature to reject the Emergency Health Powers Act.

For more information, go to:  
Prescription for disaster — Jonathan Turley column, Jan. 7, 2002

Emergency Powers Legislation — Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

Status of EHPA in each state — American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

 
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