Legal Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies: TOPOFF 2 and other Lessons

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 31 (S4):43-44 (2003)
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Abstract

There is a fine balance between civil liberties and protection of the public’s health.Legislators, especially those in the western United States, are concerned about selling the Model State Act because of the loss of civil liberties. State constitutions give governors broad powers, such as declaring martial law and giving public health leaders the authority to act. State laws should consider issues such as property rights; taking of businesses and supplies; quarantine and isolation; due process; coordination among states, counties and cities; communication systems; conscription of doctors and nurses; and compensation. When two mock emergency response drills were held in New Mexico, concerns arose regarding opening records associated with dams, national laboratories, waste repositories, and three air force bases.

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