In light of pervasive and widespread abuse of public health authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation is required to curb governors’ ability to invoke emergency authority during public health crises. Specifically, it is critical to preempt and prohibit governors from utilizing health guidance from international governmental organizations to justify lockdowns and business closures in the name of public health emergencies.
The Preventing International Influence on Public Health Emergencies Act provides a clear-cut approach for state legislators to prohibit state executives from locking down their citizens and shuttering businesses. Additionally, the bill explicitly prevents governors from utilizing guidance concocted by entities like the World Health Organization (WHO) to implement emergency public health authority while creating strong–and frequent–checks on governors for actual emergency declarations.
• Defines “international governmental organization” as any multinational organization wherein member nations determine how that organization operates, votes, or manages funds. This definition, therefore, captures a vast swath of international entities seeking to exert control over free people.
• Deems any public health emergency order issued by the President of the United States, a federal agency, a state governor, or a state agency based on recommendations from an international governmental organization to be automatically either unconstitutional or in violation of the provisions of this law.
• Requires any public health emergency order based on recommendations from an international governmental organization to be ratified by the Senate as a treaty, pass both houses of Congress, and signed into law by the President.
• Constrains the ability of a governor to declare an emergency by limiting declarations to no more than 7 calendar days. In order for a governor to extend an emergency
declaration, he or she must secure two-thirds support from the state legislature.
• Prohibits a governor from enacting lockdowns or forcible business closures with only two extraordinary exceptions: a biological or chemical attack carried out against a city or state and a natural disaster that results in significant public health dangers due to the
proliferation of raw sewage and toxic contamination.
• Even under these two extraordinary circumstances, a governor’s public health powers last only 7 calendar days, remains confined solely to the area of impact, and require a two thirds supermajority in the state legislature to extend for another 7 calendar days.
• The bill locks in a requirement for overwhelming bipartisan and bicameral support to invoke and maintain public health emergency powers during an extreme event. This ensures that such power is not utilized lightly and that elected officials remain
accountable on a weekly basis to citizens for their decisions to invoke or continue such powers.
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