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New! Boston Skeptics Slack Chat Room We're taking Boston Skeptics to the next level by introducing a Slack chat room for Boston Skeptics to keep and touch, share ideas, and be skeptical in near-real time with each other! Don't have...

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Black Helicopter/Swine Flu Follow-Up: Massachusetts’ Health Emergency & Pandemic Preparedness Bill

Posted on : 14-10-2009 | By : Joshua | In : Blog Post

Tags: , , , ,

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Some of you may remember the post I made a few weeks ago mocking overreactions to the passage of a bill in the Mass State Senate enumerating powers of the state’s public health commissioner during declared public health emergencies. The Somerville Journal has a very thorough article today reporting on the passage of the House version of the public health emergency bill.

The Somerville Journal article does a nice job of describing the differences between the two bills and what, exactly, the point of this whole thing is. Newsflash: it’s not to enable government redtrucks to socialise the fire departments and spray H1N1 on you from their firehoses.

What I also find interesting is the related motion to delay voting on the public health emergency bill. What, exactly, was the point of that, if not pure and simple obstructionism? Oh. Well, I guess I have my answer.

While we’re discussing the State Legislature, there’s another interesting bill up: Allow Students To Express Religious Views (H 376). To quote:

The Education Committee’s hearing also includes a bill that would require local school districts to implement a policy that would allow for a “limited public forum and voluntary student expression of religious views at school events, graduation ceremonies, in class assignments and non-curricular school groups and activities.” The measure also prohibits schools from discriminating against any student on the basis of his or her expressed religious views.

Any thoughts on this? To me, the key word is “voluntary”, which I don’t have a problem with, but do we need a law for that?