HARTFORD, CT — Governor Dannel Malloy has declared Connecticut to be in a state of public health emergency, enabling the indefinite suspension of certain civil rights. State bureaucrats have been granted the broad authority to forcibly detain suspected sick people without due process. The declaration came preemptively, as Connecticut has not yet seen a single case of the virus it purports to stop.
The governor’s October 7th declaration read as follows:
“In response to the epidemic of the Ebola virus currently affecting multiple countries in western Africa, and in order to provide the Commissioner of Public Health and other appropriate officials with all authorities necessary to prevent any potential transmission of the Ebola virus within the State of Connecticut, I hereby declare a public health emergency for the State, pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-131a, for the duration of the epidemic. Specifically, in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-131b, I authorize the Commissioner of Public Health to Order the isolation or quarantine, under conditions prescribed by the Commissioner of Public Health, of any individual or group of individuals whom the Commissioner reasonably believes to have been exposed to, infected with, or otherwise at risk of passing the Ebola virus.”
— Governor Dannel P. Malloy, October 7, 2014
Rationalizing his actions, the governor said in a statement: “We need to have the authorities in place that will allow us to move quickly to protect public health, if and when that becomes necessary. Signing this order will allow us to do that.”
The recipient of most of the newly-imparted power is Jewel Mullen, Connecticut’s Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH). By having this measure in place, Commissioner Mullen explained, “we don’t have to scramble in the event I need to take action.”
The actions that authorities might want to “scramble” to use is the forcible quarantine of citizens — without charges or trial.
Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-131a spells out the powers that may be used during the state of public health emergency:
“[While] the emergency exists [the state] may do any of the following: (1) Order the commissioner to implement all or a portion of the public health emergency response plan developed pursuant to section 19a-131g; (2) authorize the commissioner to isolate or quarantine persons in accordance with section 19a-131b; (3) order the commissioner to vaccinate persons in accordance with section 19a-131e; or (4) apply for and receive federal assistance.”
As noted above, the Commissioner may issue an order of mass vaccination at his or her own discretion.
Section 19a-131d states that any individual who refuses to comply with any portion of the order may be punished with with fines and imprisonment for up to one (1) year.
Fending off a police state requires constant vigilance against efforts to desecrate civil liberties. As the current scenario has shown us, a climate of fear — fear of disease, terrorism, foreign threats, etc. — makes it all-too easy to suspend constitutional rights with minimal public resistance. Many people actually feel grateful to see the government absorbing greater powers; taken with the promises of keeping them safe.
The state of public health emergency will remain in effect indefinitely until lifted by the governor.