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House Bill 234 — Cities, health

House Bill 234 — Cities, health

Parrish Miller
February 25, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 234 amends an unconstitutional statute that purports to allow cities to enforce quarantine laws outside of their borders. 

Rating: +1

Analyst Note: House Bill 234 deals with a similar subject as House Bill 74.

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

House Bill 234 amends Sections 50-304 Idaho Code, to strike a reference that claims to allow cities to enforce quarantines up to five miles beyond their borders. (House Bill 74 makes this change as well.) 

Such claimed authority is at odds with Idaho Constitution Article XII, Section 2, which says, "Any county or incorporated city or town may make and enforce, within its limits, all such local police, sanitary and other regulations as are not in conflict with its charter or with the general laws." [Emphasis added.] 

House Bill 234 also defines "quarantine" as "the separation from other individuals of a person who, under circumstances likely to result in the spread of the disease, has been exposed to: (i) An infectious or a communicable disease; (ii) Another person who is displaying medically unknown symptoms; or (iii) Another person who has been exposed to contamination from a chemical, nuclear, or biological agent."

Additionally, it says, "The separation may last only for a reasonable period of time sufficient to determine whether or not the exposed person will become sick."

This definition may help to prevent cities from imposing quarantines that limit the freedom of healthy people based on the fear that they might be exposed to some contaminant in the future. 


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