Thursday, October 8, 2009

House Removes Questionable Provisions and Adds Limitations on Governor

Representative Jeffrey Davis Perry (R-Sandwich) released the following statement today after he and several House Republicans voted in favor of an Act Relative to Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Commonwealth.

“The Bill, as was originally written by the Senate, granted what I believe was improper new powers, including the entry into private property without a warrant and several other questionable conflicts with provisions of the Forth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The version that passed the House of Representatives today addressed many of those concerns and others expressed by my constituents by striking the entry into private dwellings without a warrant, allowing for an appeal to the Superior Court of an isolation order and calling for the least restrictive means to be used. These are all positive steps and I appreciate the fact that my concerns were heard and addressed in the Committee process.

The revised Bill also includes a Republican Amendment which now more clearly defines the circumstances when the Governor can declare such a pandemic emergency. This is not the same Bill passed by the Senate. I believe this Bill strikes the proper balance between providing government with the limited, but necessary tools to deal with a pandemic. By removing many sections of the original Senate Bill and providing a due process mechanism to people who wish to challenge the actions of a government official, this Bill is now in an acceptable form. If the Senate does not adopt the improvements and protections made by the House today, I will not support the Bill in the future.”