House Bill 202 — Disasters, definitions

House Bill 202 — Disasters, definitions

by
Parrish Miller
February 22, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 202 updates the statutory definition of "disaster" and creates definitions for "epidemic" and "pandemic." 

Rating: +1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

House Bill 202 amends Section 46-1002, Idaho Code, to update the statutory definition of "disaster" and create definitions for "epidemic" and "pandemic." 

The amended definition of "disaster" is "occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or man-made cause, including but not limited to fire, flood, earthquake, windstorm, wave action, volcanic activity, epidemic, pandemic, or cybersecurity incident with the exception of violent acts identified in section 46-601, Idaho Code, that constitute a state of extreme peril."

The newly created definition of "epidemic" is "an excessive, prevalent, widespread outbreak causing a significant increase in mortality rates due solely to an infectious disease. An epidemic may be moderate, with a twenty-five percent (25%) attack rate and a one and one-half percent (1.5%) fatality rate, or severe, with a thirty percent (30%) attack rate and a two and one-half percent (2.5%) fatality rate."

The newly created definition of "pandemic" is "an excessive, prevalent, multinational epidemic."

Under current Idaho law, there are no statutory definitions of "epidemic" or "pandemic," so a state of disaster emergency can be declared based on any situation that is claimed to be an "epidemic" or "pandemic," despite these conditions being undefined. As 2020 has vividly illustrated, such a state of affairs allows for all manner of government intervention in the market and daily life.

By creating definitions for these terms, House Bill 202 reduces the likelihood that a future state of disaster emergency will be declared in Idaho because of an epidemic or pandemic.

(+1)

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