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Proposed Bill Gives NY Governor Power to Detain People Considered 'Public Health Risks'

01-03-2021
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

A bill introduced by a New York State Assemblyman would give Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) the authority to remove or detain someone deemed a threat to the public health amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. 

Assembly Bill A416 states that a questionable individual or group of people "shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises designated by the governor."

Even those without an illness can be confined if they had "contact" with someone who might have been sick, despite the fact that they were symptom-free.

Cody Anderson, chair of the Libertarian Party of New York, urged the state assembly people and senators to denounce bill A416.

"Let's put aside for a moment the egregious privacy violation in issuing an order announcing an individual to be a health risk," Anderson said. "This bill offers a clear and direct path to unconstitutional and indefinite detainment, on the governor's sole authority. No US state was ever meant to have a single person acting as judge and jury, without checks or balances; if this bill is allowed to pass, that is exactly what New York will have."

"We once again demand that legislative leaders be principled when they claim "My body, my choice" – they must not pick and choose."

The proposed bill received criticism on social media over its infringement on constitutional freedoms.

Liz Joy tweeted, "This is straight up detention camp stuff in NY!"

Another user wrote, "So disturbing. NY bill allows for the *removal and detention* of anyone who "may be a danger to public health. Yes, that's purposely undefined. Yes, it will be used, at least one day, to forcibly remove you or your children from your home for whatever reason the state sees fit."

And Kyle Becker tweeted that the bill violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. 

"NY's proposed "law" would not be a law at all. It flagrantly, blatantly & explicitly violates the Fourth Amendment rights of ALL American citizens. This is arrest without due process rights. It is the kind of Intolerable Act our Founders went to war over."

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