Hawaii: New Bill Would Give Health Director Power to Call a Health Emergency and Impose Quarantines

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The Hawaii Senate voted 20-4 in favor of House Bill 2502 that would give  the director of the State Department of Health the power to declare a health emergency if authorized by the governor. The governor already has the power to declare a health emergency, and critics of this bill say that it gives too much power to a state official who is not elected.

If the bill is made into law, the director would be allowed to require screening, testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation of people deemed by the department to be infected, at higher risk of infection, or at risk of spreading infection. The measure now heads to the House.

Monday, the Hawaii Senate voted 20-4 in favor of the controversial House Bill 2502 that would give more power to the director of the State Department of Health (DOH).

The measure would allow the health director to declare a public health emergency if authorized by the governor.

Under an emergency, the director would be allowed to require screening, testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation of people deemed by the department to be infected, at higher risk of infection, or at risk of spreading infection.

The director would be allowed to require travelers to disclose their health status, travel history, and intended place of stay, as well as the following:

  • Require first responders and the public to implement safeguards designed to prevent infections
  • Release confidential information if the director determines disclosure is necessary to protect public health
  • Take any other action necessary to prevent, prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from a serious outbreak
  • Require every police officer or state law enforcement officer to aid and assist the department in the enforcement of a declaration of a public health emergency


Read full article here…

Additional source:

https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/07/05/state-seeks-give-health-director-power-declare-public-health-emergencies/

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