JAMESTOWN – A proposed law that would allow New York State health leaders to detain individuals who pose a threat to public health is sparking backlash from local representatives.
Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R) says he doesn’t see need for “police to physically detain someone” who is not following quarantine guidelines as proposed part of Bill A416, sponsored by New York City area Assemblyman Nick Perry (D).
Earlier versions of the bill were introduced as far back as the 2015-2016 legislative session.
Goodell says local health departments already have a similar power that would allow officials to fine those who break quarantine.
“Right now, I don’t see any need in having police physically detain someone,” Goodell told WNY News Now. “I’m not quite sure what the police would even do if they would try to detain someone because we don’t want our police to pickup people who are infected and put them in jail, that doesn’t make any sense.”
New York State Senator George Borrello also spoke out against the proposal, saying he feels they are unconstitutional.
“In my opinion, just introducing these bills creates a negative impact that ultimately harms the effort to get our state past the pandemic, safely,” said Borrello in a statement. “Getting us on a path to having the most people protected from COVID-19 should be done by educating the public and building confidence in the safety of the vaccine. Trying to force it by creating a law, or with the governor’s emergency authority, only serves to undermine that process.”
Borrello also dismissed another bill that would require all residents to have the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Many will choose not to have the vaccine only because they are being forced to do so. Many others may question its safety if it is required and not voluntary,” furthered Borrello. “It will also lead to more general resistance to the common-sense safety measures that are still important as we navigate our way out of this crisis.”
In the end, Goodell says he feels this bill will not gain any traction in the Assembly; however, he feels that other emergency powers obtained by the Governor earlier this year will be hard to take away.
“Last week we again raised a bill that I drafted that would curb the Governor’s power and restore legislative checks and balances,” explained Goodell. “Unfortunately, the Democratic majority refused to consider it, we did have a few democrats support it, but it was not enough to overcome the Democratic Block.”
He feels that the Governor will try to hold on to his emergency powers for as long as possible.