Forced Detentions: Pandemic Bill Coming to a State Near You

by | Sep 2, 2009 | Headline News is reporting that a new bill is moving through the Massachusetts legislature and would allow the State government to enforce de facto Martial Law in the event a pandemic or state of emergency is declared. Some provisions of the bill:

  • requires the owner or occupier of premises to permit entry into and investigation of the premises
  • restricts or prohibits assemblages of persons
  • controls ingress to and egress from any stricken or threatened public area, and the movement of persons and materials within the area;
  • to vaccinate or provide precautionary prophylaxis (preventative procedure) to individuals as protection against communicable disease and to prevent the spread of communicable or possible communicable disease, provided that any vaccine to be administered must not be such as is reasonably likely to lead to serious harm to the affected individual
  • ….[authorities] shall assist emergency medical technicians or other appropriate medical personnel in the involuntary transportation of such person to the tuberculosis treatment center. (This one refers specifically to TB, but is there any doubt that it would applied much more broadly in a SHTF scenario?)
  • Law enforcement authorities are authorized to arrest without warrant any person whom the officer has probable cause to believe has violated an order for isolation or quarantine and shall use reasonable diligence to enforce such order. Any person who knowingly violates an order for isolation or quarantine shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than 30 days and may be subject to a civil fine of not more than $1,000 per day that the violation continues

As with any law, there are a bazlillion other provisions, including immunity against civil or criminal complaints filed against health workers or security personnel. It’s likely that if this bill is passed, more states will follow suit. And those that don’t will more than likely fall under Federal guidelines or emergency orders.

If a pandemic is declared in your area, are you prepared? How long will food stay on the store shelves in an event like this? Or will the local government provide food and water delivery services to everyone in stricken areas (this is, of course, a loaded question)?

No word on the current status of the bill and how far along in the legislative process it is, though bills are being introduced and passed around the country in reponse to a swine flu ramp up for the Fall.

Read the full story here…

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