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Pittsburgh Legal Newslog: Swine Flu and Emergency Powers of the Government.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 26, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle

The government of Mexico has assumed emergency powers to contain the swine flu epidemic, while in the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a public health emergency and the release of flu medications from the stockpile maintained by the US government for such purposes.

On the state level, a uniform statute was proposed in 2001. An analysis of Pennsylvania’s preparedness for a public health emergency was the topic of a paper prepared several years ago through the auspices of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. Only a few states have passed the model legislation and Pennsylvania is not yet among them. However, the Uniform Act has been criticized as an infringement upon individual rights in a recent speech by Susan Blevens in a 2009 Heritage Foundation lecture.

The current emergency may well move the Uniform Act to the front burner in many state legislatures, including Pennsylvania.

News reports:

New York Times (US declares public health emergency), April 26, 2009.

Associated Press, April 26, 2009.

Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2009.

China View, April 26, 2009.

Blogs and Commentary:

Live Science: the Basics, April 26, 2009.

Talking Points Memo, April 26, 2009.

Tech Crunch (panic spreads over the web), April 26, 2009.

The Business Insider (swine flu talk taking over twitter), April 26, 2009.

Kansas City Star (on panic), April 26, 2009.

Additional Fact: The final game of the 1919 Stanley Cup Hockey Tournament was cancelled and never played because of the great Spanish Influenza Pandemic which broke out at the conclusion of World War One.


CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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