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New State "Emergency" Powers Threaten Civil Liberties Unelected Officials Can Force Vaccinations, Quarantines, Rationing & Property Seizures

January 9, 2002 -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending a model bill for state legislatures to pass that would give public health officials and governors sweeping new authority without oversight by the legislature or courts. Moreover, the proposal allows government authorities to ration and commandeer drugs and other items, including firearms and private property.

This bill would give the governor the power to declare himself dictator in case of a "public health emergency" -- which means whatever he says it does. Further, the governor could then delegate this authority to unelected political appointees in state and local public health offices.

The bill is so alarming that even state legislators are publicly opposing it, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation's largest bipartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.

While ALEC's Director of the Health and Human Services Task Force acknowledges that safeguarding citizens from biological and chemical attack is a critical function of government, "We must take a much more deliberative approach in crafting effective policy without sacrificing the rights and liberties of individuals and families," said Jennifer King.

The proposed legislation, entitled the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA), is already under consideration in several states including Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Minnesota, Illinois, and California, while many states will consider the measure during the 2002 legislative sessions, according to King.

Upon declaring an emergency, the government could:
  • Force you to take a vaccination or a medical treatment decided by the Governor -- or be herded into a quarantine or isolation facility;
  • Seize any of your property that the government decided was necessary to cope with the emergency, such as real estate, fuel, medical supplies, food, clothing, and communication devices;
  • Destroy property alleged to be hazardous without compensation and without recourse;
  • Conscript you or your business into State service;
  • Impose rationing, price controls, and quotas, and control the transportation or use of any item deemed "reasonable and necessary for emergency response," and
  • Suspend any State rules that might hinder the program.

The Governor does not have to consult the public health authority, the legislature, or the courts. He does not have to answer to anyone, ever, for the consequences of his actions. HHS may try to bribe or coerce the legislature into passing this law by threatening to withhold federal funds for state Medicaid or other health programs.


SIGN THE PETITION. Urge President Bush to stop HHS from pushing this monstrous bill, Log on to www.aapsonline.org or call the AAPS Hotline at 800.419.4777

CONTACT STATE OFFICIALS. Tell legislators and your governor. Call the Legislative Hotline in your State Capitol.

SPREAD THE WORD. Tell colleagues, teachers, reporters, talk show hosts, business leaders;

ALERT AAPS. Send news clips or any other reports about efforts to introduce this bill in your state.