MACC CALL TO ACTION: FEEDBACK NEEDED ASAP ON TESTING, TRACING and CASE INVESTIGATION BILL
Sen. Michelle Benson 651-296-3219 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Scott Jensen 651-296-4837 email@example.com
Sen. Jim Abeler 651-296-3733 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Paul Gazelka 651-296-4875 email@example.com
Sen. Jeremy Miller 651-296-5649 firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether you have followed all of the executive orders, press conferences and legislative hearings daily or not, this is now what is imminently before the citizens of Minnesota. Senator Benson and other senators are asking for input on the Test/Trace bill. If this is important to you, be sure to call today.
MAY 12 LIKELY
The Senate Health Committee will take up Senate File (SF) 4500 likely on Tuesday, May 12 and perhaps additional meetings this week. (The Agenda is TBA.)
The original SF 4500 appropriated grant monies to institutions to develop a seriological test to be used in Minnesota. There was consent language for healthcare workers and data privacy language. That is now gone! Deleting the original bill and subject matter, Amended SF 4500 takes a deep dive into testing, tracing, case investigation and follow-up like we are seeing in some other states.
BIG CONCERN #1: The bill lists actions to be taken without any specificity as to how programs will be run. It hands all authority to the Department of Health to set up these programs. [Sen. Benson: SF 4500 bill lacks specificity and thereby protection for citizens. Please, Insert protectionary parameters which removes testing and tracing mandates and ensures data privacy.]
SECTION 6. PROGRAM ESTABLISHED [Evidence]
“Subd. 2. Program established. In order to control the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the commissioner shall establish a contact tracing, case investigation, and follow-up services program for persons with COVID-19. This program must operate to accurately and efficiently identify contacts of persons with COVID-19, perform case investigations, and provide follow-up services.”
[For example, the Dept of Health would decide the policy on how to remove citizens from their homes (“alternative housing” Section 6, Subd 3.) What about children? Will they have to be removed from their homes, isolated and quarantined for 14 days at some remote location? What happens to children when a single parent or both parents must be removed? We have more questions than answers! A Ventura County, CA official spoke to this issue on video quite recently!]
BIG CONCERN #2 is that CONSENT LANGUAGE was removed from the bill and it’s now written for the general populace. Data will be collected. There is no language on protecting citizen data thereby making the bill dangerous in surveillance and profiling. [Sen. Benson: Re-establish consent language into SF 4500. Consent to test, to trace. Insert a Tennessen Warning for all citizens and other good sense measures to make sure Minnesota remains a free state.]
BIG CONCERN #3: SF 4500 establishes an entire cottage industry; an army of medical military. Will 4,000+ contact tracers really be needed? Will this cause neighbor to turn on neighbor and friend or family to turn on each other? Why are we allowing public health departments to take complete control of our personal health decisions? Besides that, the costs will likely be enormous! [Sen. Benson: The contact tracing programs sound quite dystopian. Minnesota has had 500+ unfortunate deaths attributed to Covid-19. Consider whether this program is needed at all. A heavily surveilled contact tracing and testing program could easily lead to the elimination of personal health rights. Please consider carefully the appropriations truly needed due to our grave indebtedness.]
Section 6 of SF 4500 includes policy but not how that policy will actually work.
Sec. 6. CONTACT TRACING, CASE INVESTIGATION, AND FOLLOW-UP: SERVICES PROGRAM FOR PERSONS WITH COVID-19.
“Subd. 2. Program established. In order to control the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the commissioner shall establish a contact tracing, case investigation, and follow-up services program for persons with COVID-19. This program must operate to accurately and efficiently identify contacts of persons with COVID-19, perform case investigations, and provide follow-up services.
Contact tracing, case investigation, follow-up services, and information technology necessary to support these activities;
(2) hiring, training, and managing staff and volunteers to perform contact tracing, case investigation, and follow-up services;
(3) providing essential services, including but not limited to the provision of alternate housing, food delivery, and delivery of medications, to persons with COVID-19 who are subject to isolation or quarantine;
(4) community education;
(5) interpreter services;
(6) community outreach through statewide or local media or other methods of communication;
(7) purchasing personal protective equipment necessary for staff and volunteers to perform contact tracing, case investigation, and follow-up services;
(8) providing grants to local health departments, community health boards, and tribal health departments for purposes of this section;
(9) contracting with a vendor to hire, train, and manage program staff and volunteers; and
(10) transferring funds to other state agencies as necessary to establish and operate the program.”
Link to SF 4500 amended version. https://www.senate.mn/committees/2019-2020/3095_Committee_on_Health_and_Human_Services_Finance_and_Policy/scs4500a-2%20(006).pdf?fbclid=IwAR37EJ5J-dzBbgEx_lxHNPG1C2FK2Oht4fVE6aVRdgGqeUugReadU3byhYE
Link to SF 4500 original version. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?f=SF4500&b=senate&y=2020&ssn=0