Assemblyman Chris Tague (R,C,I-Schoharie) joined Sen. George Borrello (SD-57) and Assemblyman Michael Lawler (R,C,I,SAM-Pearl River) for a press conference today to announce they are petitioners in a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of a regulation establishing isolation and quarantine procedures for those suspected of having a communicable disease. Tague and others opposed to this directive argue its implementation through the regulatory process violates the separation of powers.
The regulation, 10 NYCRR 2.13, would allow the Health Department to coordinate with a local health authority to mandate isolation and quarantine for individuals exposed to communicable diseases, even in locations that aren’t their homes. It was adopted as an emergency regulation on Feb. 22, 2022 and is due to expire on April 22, 2022. The New York State Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council is set to renew the rule on an emergency basis today, though steps have also been taken by the council to make the regulation permanent.
“This policy, and the fact it’s been enacted without legislative debate or consent, should give us all pause,” said Tague. “Allowing the government to forcibly remove people from their homes to quarantine is a nightmarish concept that elicits dark memories of the worst autocratic regimes we’ve seen in human history. The purpose of the Legislature is to publicly scrutinize policies such as this, so that ridiculous proposals are never allowed to carry the force of law. By ramming this directive through the regulatory process, the Legislature was unable to have their fair say on this policy, and now we’re left with no choice but to take legal action to prevent it from becoming a permanent rule.”