NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

"Model" Bioterrorism Law Finds Little Favor With States

July 23, 2002

Most states have failed to adopt a "model" bioterrorism law developed for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The law would give governors and state health officials enhanced powers to respond to a bioterrorism attack or other public health emergencies.

  • So far, only 16 states and the District of Columbia have adopted all or parts of the "Model State Emergency Health Powers Act" -- while it has been rejected or stalled in 22 states.
  • Under the law, authorities would have the power to enforce quarantines, vaccinate people, seize and destroy property without compensation, and ration medical supplies, food and fuel.
  • But a broad coalition of opponents -- ranging from civil libertarians to conservative doctors -- contend the proposed law would violate individual rights and give governments too much power.
  • Some doctors dislike provisions which they say would allow unelected state officials to force treatments or vaccinations of citizens against the advice of their doctors.

Source: Mimi Hall, "Many States Reject Bioterrorism Law," USA Today, July 23, 2002.

For USA Today text


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