REP. SALMON: Mandatory quarantine of healthy people should be prohibited

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In this newsletter I want to recommend other improvements that need to be made to our public health disaster emergency law:

Without eliminating legal liability entirely, employers, health care providers, public schools, government agencies or Bill of Rights-protected entities such as churches, private schools, non-profits etc. who are doing the best they can to deal with a public health disaster emergency by implementing health mitigation measures with the knowledge they have should not be subject to legal liability for claims by workers, clients, customers or participants regarding a “lack of protection” in the workplace or church or school, etc. This is simply common sense. We are not talking about employers, schools, hospitals, or churches being negligent, careless, and reckless. We are talking about them doing the best they can but common sense and science tell us that even with the best mitigation measures in place, germs have a way of getting past all that.

Government use of drones, microchips, cell phones, and other technology to track citizens without their awareness, to accomplish a goal related to a public health disaster emergency should be prohibited. “Snitching on neighbors”, as is proposed in some states, and which breeds suspicion and distrust, should also be prohibited. Mandatory contact tracing programs which have been proposed in Kansas City, Washington, and other places should be prohibited as well. All are violations of the 4th Amendment right to be secure in your person or property from unreasonable searches and seizures. Governors in other states like New Jersey and Connecticut have proposed or taken action like this with no regard for citizens’ 4th Amendment rights. This is the kind of government activity we see in totalitarian and communist regimes like China and we do not want it here.

Mandatory quarantine of healthy people, which has not been used historically, should be prohibited. Mandatory quarantine of sick people who are contagious in an epidemic or even people particularly vulnerable to the epidemic is understandable and has been used in the past as a public health mitigation measure. Also, it is understandable if healthy people who are concerned about contracting a disease, want to stay home of their own free will. Healthy families should not be pulled apart and quarantined separately without their consent, a measure proposed in California and Washington. These activities, which we see proposed in other states, are again a violation of our 4th Amendment right.

Total unemployment assistance, no matter what source it is from, state or federal, should not exceed the amount of pay a worker receives on the job. This is likely a federal as well as a state issue, given the federal involvement in unemployment in this pandemic. Otherwise there is no financial incentive to go back to work. And we are on our way to a “guaranteed income”, which is a tenet of socialism and communism, very destructive of freedom, individual dignity, personal responsibility, work incentive, and economic productivity.

No hospital or nursing home should deny the request of a patient or their family to visitation by a pastor, priest, etc. Denying a patient fighting for their life or dying in a hospital or nursing home the services of a minister is one of the worst violations of a person’s right to religious freedom. Ministering to souls is just as essential as feeding and medicating bodies. We see people cut off from their ministers in China, North Korea, and other oppressive and tyrannical regimes but we should not see it here.

We also need to clarify our law that the medical and religious exemptions for the vaccinations required for school enrollment that are allowed during a normal time are also allowed during a public health disaster emergency.  The Dept. of Public Health understands this to be true but the law as written is unclear.  So it needs to be clarified. A child’s body does not become physically able to handle a vaccination just because there is a pandemic. If a child needs a medical exemption before a pandemic, he will need it during a pandemic.  Also a citizen should not be required to surrender his religious freedom just because there is a pandemic.  The Constitution does not allow exemptions to religious freedom for a pandemic.  Our Founding Fathers dealt with epidemics in their day and understood the issue of immunity. But they knew that leaving a clear way open for a tyrannical and oppressive government to violate a citizen’s conscience would likely ensure it would eventually do so.

I want to bring up another issue for your consideration of which I have been made aware: Until this pandemic I was not aware that our public health disaster emergency law allows the governor to order individuals be vaccinated or possibly be quarantined for an indefinite period of time. In other words, according to our current law, if a vaccine for COVID is developed during the time we are still under a disaster emergency due to the COVID virus and if the governor should order it (not saying she would or is even thinking about it), and if we refused, we could possibly be placed under quarantine until the government allows the quarantine to end. Is this reasonable or is it a violation of our 4th Amendment right to be “secure in your person from unreasonable searches and seizures?” Are the government’s public health and safety concerns paramount here or does the 4th Amendment include the right of a person to determine what goes into their body? Does our law balance these 2 concerns appropriately or is an adjustment needed? No matter your view on this issue, there is no doubt the government should educate the public about the need for a vaccination with full disclosure about its relevant particulars. More needs to be examined and discussed regarding the provision of mandatory vaccination in a disaster emergency, especially in light of issues surrounding vaccinations that have surfaced in recent years and the technology being developed for future vaccinations.

Author: Sandy Salmon