Appeals Court Hears Case Against Governor Hochul’s Quarantine Rule

(WNY News Now) – Oral arguments were presented in the state’s appeal against a lower court ruling that challenged Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) over alleged constitutional overreach in the implementation of isolation and quarantine regulations.

Rochester, NY – The legal battle, initiated in April 2022 and filed in the State Supreme Court of Cattaraugus County, has Senator George Borrello, Assemblyman Chris Tague, Assemblyman (now Congressman) Michael Lawler, and the advocacy group Uniting NYS as petitioners. The contested regulation, 10 NYCRR 2.13, grants NYSDOH and local health authorities the authority to impose isolation and quarantine without requiring proof of illness or exposure to listed diseases.

Critics argue that the rule extends beyond the scope of public health, including non-communicable diseases. Senator Borrello emphasized the breach of constitutional separation of powers, suggesting that the administration overstepped by imposing such a wide-ranging mandate. Judge Ronald D. Ploetz supported this view in his July 2022 ruling, highlighting existing legislation, PHL 2120, as an alternative mechanism for quarantine or isolation orders.

Bobbie Anne Flower Cox, Esq., representing the petitioners, reiterated the concerns over unconstitutional power and its potential abuse, emphasizing the absence of clear procedures for individuals subjected to quarantine or isolation.

Amicus briefs submitted by Assembly Members William Barclay, Andrew W. Goodell, and Joseph M. Giglio, along with support from the New Civil Liberties Alliance, bolstered the case against rule 2.13. Senator Borrello asserted the significance of maintaining the separation of powers in upholding democracy, vowing to continue the fight.

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