The Illegalities of PHD’s Mandatory Mask Order for Kootenai County, ID
By Ray Writz Referenced from other sources
I am a concerned citizen and business Partner in Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho, and given the events that occurred today, it is my requirement as a citizen of this great state, to bring this to your attention.
This afternoon, at a Public Meeting of the Board of Health, Panhandle Health District, the board voted by a 4-2 measure to issue an “Order regarding Face Coverings” specifically restricted to “Individuals in Kootenai County, Idaho”. However, upon reading the specific order given by “Marlow Thompson, Chairman of the Panhandle Health District Board of Health”, it is extremely broad and overreaching in their assumption of power and abilities. Specifically Section 5 of the order states, “(a)n immediate danger to public health, safety and welfare of the people of the Panhandle Health District and in particular, Kootenai County, requires the imposition of this emergency order, which is authorized by Idaho Code § 56-1003(7), IDAPA 16.02.10.065.09, Idaho Code § 39-415, and Idaho Code § 67-5247” (emphasis added).
First, let’s look at Idaho Code § 56-1003(7), which states, “(t)he director, under rules adopted by the board of health and welfare, shall have the power to impose and enforce orders of isolation and quarantine to protect the public from the spread of infectious or communicable diseases or from contamination from chemical or biological agents, whether naturally occurring or propagated by criminal or terrorist act.”(emphasis added), specifically this section grants the PHHD, the authority to issue an order of ISOLATION and QUARANTINE, which is not what this order issued July 23, 2020 actually is doing, this is not an ORDER OF QUARANTINE or ISOLATION, it is specifically titled “Order regarding Face Coverings”. More specifically again, this is in direct violation of the statute which is quoted, and a direct over-extension of the powers granted by the legislature of the state to the Health Districts.
Second, IDAPA 16.02.10.065.09, is pretty much a carbon copy, with more explanation, as the above stated code, specifically it states, “(o)rder for Quarantine. The Division of Public Health Administrator or Health District Director is empowered whenever a case of any communicable disease occurs in any household or other place within his jurisdiction and in his opinion it is necessary that persons residing within must be kept from contact with the public, to declare the house, building, apartment, or room a place of quarantine and to require that no persons will leave or enter during the period of quarantine except with specific permission of the issuing officer. Orders for quarantine must be executed as described in Subsections 065.09.a. and 065.09.b. of this rule. (4-2-08) a. The order for quarantine must be executed as follows: (4-2-08) i. One (1) copy to any individual being quarantined; (4-2-08) ii. One (1) copy to the attending licensed physician; (4-2-08) iii. One (1) copy to the prosecuting attorney of the county or city in which the quarantine occurs; (4-2-08) iv. One (1) copy to be filed in the office of the issuing officer along with an affidavit of service signed by the person who served the order; and (4-2-08) v. One (1) copy to the person in charge or owner of the place of quarantine. (4-2-08) b. The issuing officer will make an assessment and identify the least restrictive timeframe of quarantine that effectively protects unexposed and susceptible individuals to the infection of public health threat. (4-2-08) c. The Division of Public Health Administrator or Health District Director will withdraw an order for quarantine when he determines there is no longer a significant threat to the public’s health posed by the individual or premises under the order for quarantine.”(emphasis added), under this rule, it is NECESSARY to declare a specific “house, building, apartment, or room”, which means that by technical specifications, Every house and business, every person and citizen, would have to have a copy of this order given to them, under IDAPA 16.02.10.065.09(a)(i), which has not (at least in my case) happened. Additionally, this section, as stated in the order means that, no persons will leave or enter during the period of quarantine, so another words, the PHHD is specifically issuing a blanket order without any regards for the sections that they are quoting.
Third, under Idaho Code § 39-415, which specifically states, “QUARANTINE. The district board shall have the same authority, responsibility, powers, and duties in relation to the right of quarantine within the public health district as does the state”, this is an extremely vague and non-disclosing statute and has no bearing on the current situation.
Fourth, but certainly not least, is the Idaho Administrative Procedure Act, which gives PHHD the ability to hold an Emergency Proceeding. This part of the act is not contested nor relevant to this discussion, as the Proceeding is in itself authorized by law, and not at issue. What is specifically at issue is the validity of the order given.
Finally, I turn your attention to Section 3 of the Order (page 2), which states, “(p)lease read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order could constitute a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. Idaho Code § 56-1003(7)(c).” Section 7 is a very narrow piece of legislature regarding Isolation and Quarantine, and section c, states, “(a)ny person who violates an order of isolation or quarantine shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” This specific part of the order is more worrying then anything else, specifically, the fact that this is NOT an order of Isolation or Quarantine, but an Order regarding Face Coverings. The language of this section of Idaho code is specific in a number of areas, (7)(a), “An order of isolation or quarantine”(emphasis added), and “(j)udicial review of orders of isolation or quarantine shall be de novo.”
According to Merriam-Webster’s diction, the definition of either of these acts does not fulfill the mandate as set out, “isolation: the action of isolating : the condition of being isolated” and “quarantine . . . 4: a state of enforced isolation” and “quarantine 1: to detain in or exclude by quarantine 2: to isolate from normal relations or communication”. Under this order, and by the way it is written, the PHHD, has in fact QUARANTINED and ISOLATED the county, which means that by the textbook definition of the law given above, under IDAPA 16.02.10.065.09, PHHD has “to declare the house, building, apartment, or room a place of quarantine and to require that no persons will leave or enter during the period of quarantine except with specific permission of the issuing officer.”
I am not opposed to the Mask concept, I have worn masks going into private residences when dealing with customers, especially those at higher risk, and where certain business have mandated it, as it is private property, but in PUBLIC, in public spaces, this is the straw that is going to break the camel’s back. These “officials” with PHHD are not elected, no, they are appointed by the County Commissioners, which you do elect. Even to pleading citizens at the PHHD meeting, that they not pass this act, and growing outrage to this abomination of the powers granted to PHHD Director and officers, we as citizens should not stand for this.
Ray Writz is a candidate for US Senator for the State of Idaho from the Constitution Party