Colleagues and Friends of Texas Health Freedom,
Senate Bill (SB) 538, the infectious disease control bill which gives the state broad powers to restrict Texans’ fundamental rights, is on the Texas State Senate calendar for a vote on Monday. March 30th. This very bad bill should be opposed for the following reasons:
- The language of SB 538 is too vague, and allows the potential for very undesirable unintended consequences. Examples follow.
- There is no language which lays out the Constitutional principle under which the State of Texas is allowed to abrogate the Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution via this bill.
- There is insufficient specificity concerning what constitutes a “state of infectious disease emergency.” As currently written, the bill would allow the Governor and the Texas Department of State Health Services to declare an emergency simply due to an outbreak of normal childhood or seasonal illnesses. This countermands the guidance published by the Infectious Disease Task Force, and testified to in public hearing, that an emergency should be very narrowly defined.
- The bill language confuses the definitions of “infectious disease” and “communicable disease.” They are not one and the same.
- There is insufficient specificity of what constitutes “probable cause” of a “suspicion of exposure or being a carrier.”
- There is insufficient specificity of what constitutes “means of control.” Our Coalition submitted a list of suggested inclusions and exclusions, which were rejected by the bill author.
- No mention is made of the rights of Texans to both refuse treatment, and receive information about the treatment.
- The fiscal note’s statement “No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.” is inaccurate at best. The declaration of a statewide infectious disease emergency could have dire economic consequences, and cost the state heavily.
- There is no specificity regarding the judicial procedures to be followed to protect the rights of the individual in the event of an infectious disease emergency.
Please call your Texas State Senator (not US Senator!) and ask them to oppose this bill when it is voted on. To find out who your Texas State Senator is, fill in your information in the “Who Represents Me?” block in the upper left corner of this page. Scroll down to Texas State Senator for their contact information. Call their Austin office (area code 512).
When you call, tell the person taking the message something like: “I am a constituent of Senator (your Senator’s last name). I want her/him to vote “NO” on Senate Bill 538 when it is voted on on March 30th. This bill is too vaguely written, and provides insufficient protection of my rights.”
Time is short, so please act today!
Thanks for your support of Texas Health Freedom,
The Executive Committee
Texas Health Freedom Coalition
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