Group of NY Republicans suing over DOH rule many have said is too similar to ‘COVID concentration camp’ bill

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York State Republicans are challenging the constitutionality of a New York State Department of Health (DOH) regulation that establishes isolation and quarantine procedures for those who are suspected of having a communicable disease.

The rule at the center of the lawsuit is 10 NYCRR 2.13, an emergency regulation that was adopted on Feb. 22 and is due to expire on April 22, though the DOH’s Health Planning Council was set to renew the emergency rule Tuesday.

The rule says, "(1) Whenever appropriate to control the spread of a highly contagious communicable disease, the State Commissioner of Health may issue and/or may direct the local health authority to issue isolation and/or quarantine orders, consistent with due process of law, to all such persons as the State Commissioner of Health shall determine appropriate." and goes on to say, "(4) For the purposes of quarantine orders, quarantine locations may include home quarantine, other residential or temporary housing quarantine, or quarantine at such other locations as the public health authority issuing the order deems appropriate, consistent with any direction that the State Commissioner of Health may issue."

The Republican lawmakers behind the suit are criticizing the rule for resembling the controversial Assembly Bill 416, which was originally introduced years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its re-introduction in the "COVID era" led to concern on social media that the bill could lead to "COVID concentration camps".

RELATED: Fact Check: Is a bill that could lead to COVID ‘concentration camps’ up for a vote?

The downstate assemblyman who proposed the bill in this session, Nick Perry (D, 58), ended up striking the bill after News10NBC’s Nikki Rudd contacted his office about the bill and the online controversy it was causing.

The lawyer representing the lawmakers said Section 2.13 is "a law cloaked as a ‘regulation’". The suit claims the DOH violated the New York State Constitution in adopting Section 2.13 and is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction.

State Sen. George Borrello (R, 57), who is one of the Republican lawmakers behind the suit, notes Section 2.13 would allow the Health Department to coordinate with a local health authority to mandate isolation and quarantine for individuals exposed to communicable diseases, even in locations that aren’t their homes.

“The fact that Assembly Bill 416 never received the support it needed to move forward is clear evidence that the legislature has no intent to allow such an unconstitutional edict to become law,” Borrello said.

RELATED: Fact Check: Proposed rules for quarantine camps?

The full lawsuit is below (mobile users, click here):

91239 George M Borrello Et Al v George M Borrello Et Al AFFIRMATION 50 by News10NBC on Scribd