WE THE PEOPLE STRONGLY OPPOSE HB2502_SD1 which would seek to amend Hawaii Revised Statutes Division 1. § 325 on infectious and communicable diseases. HB2502_SD1 would grant broad powers to the Director of the Department of Health, an un-elected official, allowing the Director to declare a public health emergency with agreement from the Governor. Once the emergency is declared, the Director would be the sole person in charge of the emergency, responsible for the rules, and dictating health requirements to be followed by all people in Hawai’i. That is too much power for an individual, particularly one who does not answer to the people. Additionally, no clear criteria are established in the bill to define a public health emergency, and any emergency could be extended indefinitely in 90-day increments. The phrase “potential for an epidemic” makes clear that no concrete EVIDENCE of an outbreak is even necessary in order to declare an emergency. “Take other action as deemed necessary by the director” is vague language found in the bill that could be abused and cause great harm to the people of Hawai’i. What kind of action? I believe that future responses to outbreaks can be effectively managed, as has been done in our current situation, under the current legislation and HB2502_SD1 should be rejected by the Senate as it creates too much potential for harm.
Though written with a preface to travel concerns, Section 2 is written to be implemented into HRS 325 and would apply to ALL people in Hawai’i, both residents and visitors alike. Based on the content of the bill, ANY PERSON suspected of being at a “higher risk of spreading infection” would be subject to quarantine, removal to a quarantine facility by police force, with no limitation on how long s/he can be held in quarantine, and no cap on the amount of money the individual can be charged for room, board, and treatment. There are no guarantees that families would be kept together and no safeguards for bodily autonomy. This is a complete and total disregard for the civil liberties established in the United States Constitution for any person that would be suspected of being at a greater risk based on a presumed threat without any requirement for the State or Director of Health to meet the burden of proof before removing civil liberties.
Page 5, line 5 reads: “Take other action as deemed necessary… ” This wording is far too vague and would suggest that the Department of Health director will have authority to enforce absolutely anything, including a vaccine, invasive testing or medical treatment, if in his/her opinion if it is “deemed necessary” and without any public input or legislative process. We do not agree with the Department’s ability to adopt interim rules without the requirements of chapter 91 and chapter 201M. This exemption removes the right for the public and small business owners to influence rulemaking. Business owners will be denied the ability to oppose rules that will have an impact on their business, such as in the case of mandated closure of businesses.
We do not agree to the forced closure of schools and businesses as proposed on page 4, line 14, as this practice has proven to have no bearing on the overall numbers of deaths in relation to COVID-19, when you compare statistics with other states that did not impose a “lockdown” mandate yet still maintained a low death toll. Closure of a business is in effect an illegal seizure of property and the amount of despair and disruption to society it causes must be taken into consideration. You cannot justify mitigation tactics meant to save lives, when those tactics are destroying lives in the process.
Page 5, Line 9: “(b) Quarantine and isolation pursuant to this section shall not be subject to the requirements pursuant to section 325—8(a).” This seems to suggest that definitions of the terms “communicable disease”, “dangerous disease” and “quarantine” can be altered or modified as needed in order to declare a public health emergency and subsequently enforce quarantine on individuals without the need for clear definition. This in turn will also relieve the state from the burden of proof if in such cases the quarantine order is challenged by the individual. The redefinition of “Quarantine” from 325-8(a) to the new proposed definition by adding “or who otherwise have or create a potential risk of transmitting a communicable or dangerous disease to others from individuals” brings up the question that unvaccinated individuals could be targeted to be placed in quarantine facilities.
The addition to Chapter 325 of the definition of the term “isolation” and the distinct difference to the term “quarantine”, with ISOLATION being more restrictive, seems to mean that some individuals may be removed from their homes or other more comfortable setting and placed within an isolation facility. Forced separation from family members due to infection without due process of law is cruel and therefore unconstitutional under the 4th amendment.
This bill intends to amend Chapter 325-8(e) to remove the individual’s right to due process. The State will NOT be required to obtain a written ex parte order prior to enforcing isolation or quarantine. The individual will be allowed a right to contest, but with a time frame of 10 days until a hearing is scheduled, the individual will be subjected to quarantine or isolation no matter what. They will be considered guilty until proven innocent. On page 21, Line 14 it reads: “The individual is reasonably believed to have been exposed to or known to have been infected with a communicable or dangerous disease;” This appears to change the standard to detain, arrest and hold from “probable cause” to “reasonably believed” which is again a violation of the 4th amendment.
This is why we urge you to shred this bill and allow the people of Hawai’i to return to the lives we once lived. This bill makes an opening statement which declares that such legislation is acting to sustain the State’s tourism industry, when in actuality it can only serve to do the exact opposite. How can the forced screening, testing, monitoring, tracking and possible incarceration of those looking to enjoy a Hawai’i vacation be considered a “positive visitor experience”?
By signing below, an email will be sent on your behalf to Governor Ige, Lt. Governor Josh Green, Senate President Kouchi, Senators, Representatives, and testimony general email box.
Once you complete your signature here, we strongly urge you to go to https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2502&year=2020&fbclid=IwAR1RyYlzHcLmL4PGRrooQk4VC8AzhY-m6X4xFM2hbpv_A_WOml1E9vg08cs) to submit your personal testimony through the State Legislature Website.
This petition is now closed.
End date: Jul 02, 2020
Signatures collected: 210