Could a lockdown last indefinitely? Could an indefinitely lockdown be the leverage the government could use to [eventually] require mandatory immunization for Covid-19 and the closure of businesses?
Over forty years ago, the New Mexico legislature passed the Public Health and Safety Act, they meant well. The act aimed to protect New Mexicans and give the Department of Health, the ability to issue licenses and enforce public health orders Interestingly, in the cases of emergency orders, the legislature did not put any checks and balances in place to allow stop a power-hungry governor, or an on-going emergency to have any input or feedback outside. There is no 30 or 60-day expiration for public health emergency orders where state lawmakers must help find comprehensive solutions, or anything else. Per the public health order, the fate of New Mexicans is permanently left in the hands of the Governor’s executive-branch appointments in the Department of Health.
By giving the department of health so much authority to enforce its own orders, which includes through the courts according to the Act, the legislature did not specify how long the executive branch and department of health could enforce measures. With New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in favor of the department of health and Governor, we can assume health measures could be enacted indefinitely. Flash forward to nine months of public health order restrictions, and legislators have decided that the Governor might need some restraints. Democrats have even gone so far to say something needs to be done. But anything they pass, if Democrat legislators were to have enough backbone to pass anything, would be subject to the Governor’s veto and line-item veto. Yeah, that ain’t happening.
Let’s dive into the Act, which can be read here in its entirety, a little:
B. supervise the health and hygiene of the people of the state;
C. investigate, control and abate the causes of disease, especially epidemics, sources of mortality and other conditions of public health;
D. establish, maintain and enforce isolation and quarantine;
E. close any public place and forbid gatherings of people when necessary for the protection of the public health;
G. prescribe the duties of public health nurses and school nurses;
H. provide educational programs and disseminate information on public health;
J. bring action in court for the enforcement of health laws and regulations and orders issued by the department;
K. enter into agreements with other states to carry out the powers and duties of the department;
L. cooperate and enter into contracts or agreements with the federal government or any other person to carry out the powers and duties of the department;
M. maintain and enforce regulations for the control of communicable diseases deemed to be dangerous to public health;
N. maintain and enforce regulations for immunization against diseases deemed to be dangerous to the public health;
O. maintain and enforce such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of the Public Health Act and to publish same;
P. supervise state public health activities, operate a dental public health program, and operate state laboratories for the investigation of public health matters;
Q. sue and, with the consent of the legislature, be sued;
S. administer legislation enacted pursuant to Title VI of the Public Health Service Act as amended and supplemented;
T. inspect such premises or vehicles as necessary to ascertain the existence or nonexistence of conditions dangerous to public health or safety; and
U. do all other things necessary to carry out its duties.
The public health orders that have been enacted since March, 2020 are not going away. What is more, the Governor has the ability– through this law– to go even farther than she has gone, lawfully. At least it will be done lawfully until Governor Grisham violates federal law– in the form of interstate commerce or something– sparking federal court intervention.
It’s concerning. We recommend that concerned citizens reach out to their legislators and demand action. We should, very soon, be concerned and rallying about this in Santa Fe. Find your legislator and talk with him/her here. Demand answers. Ask for help. Use local examples of how these public orders are tearing apart families, businesses and our local communities that we rely on.