State Lawmakers File Suit Against Health Department Regulations 

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ALBANY – A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the State Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of a New York State Department of Health regulation.

The regulation establishes isolation and quarantine procedures for those who are suspected of having a communicable disease. It was originally instituted as an emergency order during the pandemic and is due to expire on April 22. However, the Health Department’s Health Planning Council is pushing to renew the rule.

“The whole idea that a public health official could quarantine someone, isolate them, move them to a detention center essentially, with no due process and no evidence that this person is a public health threat,” says Senator George Borrello.

State Senator George Borrello, and other lawmakers, are calling for an end to the expanded authority, citing the lack of separation of powers in state government.

Borrello claims Hochul drew ideas from an Assembly Bill, which had been proposed pre-pandemic, to make a permanent alteration to state health laws. 

“It is a clear violation of the separation of powers,” says Borrello. “For me, if this is something that the New York State Legislature, we are representing the people of New York State want to do, then bring it forward as a bill. Have it debated and discussed, pass it. You be the one to tell the people that you report to, the people that elect you, that you voted to have someone quarantine you without due process.”

Fellow lawsuit plaintiff Assemblyman Mike Lawler says restoring legislative authority is the ultimate goal of the legal action. 

“We are fighting back against one party rule. We are fighting back against an Executive that has absolutely overreached. And we are here to restore legislative authority,” assures Lawler. 

Assemblyman Chris Tague, a co-petitioner, suggested that this regulation embodies the worst fears citizens have about the government. 

“The role of the legislature is to engage in spirited debates and deeply scrutinize proposals that have the ability to directly affect the lives of our residents like this one does. But since this policy has been treated as a regulatory matter, we have not been afforded the opportunity,” explains Tague.

Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio delivered a petition to the Health Council to demand a public hearing, with over ten thousand signatures supporting it. This representation, Bobbie Anne Flower Cox, Esq. of Cox Lawyers, PLLC, the attorney representing the petitioners explained, has been lacking in the formation of the regulation.

“We have three branches of government. The people suffer when one of those branches oversteps its bounds and crosses over into lawmaking where they don’t belong. The people of New York can’t have their voices heard if an agency is passing a law. That’s why we have representation in the legislature,”  says Cox.


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