Resolution 01-2020: Limits and Constraints on Emergency Powers


WHEREAS: Under state emergency powers acts, state government has virtually unlimited power with no liability for harms its actions may cause; and

WHEREAS: In the COVID-19 pandemic, governors have invoked sweeping powers, causing severe damage to individuals and small businesses; and

WHEREAS: Governors have blocked patients from accessing needed medical care, causing harm to patients including preventable death, by administrative decisions defining “essential,” which threaten the livelihood of physicians who dare to help patients by means that might be deemed “nonessential”; and

WHEREAS: Governors and state agencies have interfered with physicians’ right to prescribe certain FDA-approved drugs for “off-label” indications, substituting the judgment of unnamed, non-accountable authorities for physicians’ discretion; and

WHEREAS: Emergency declarations suspend Constitutional rights, including the right to assemble; and

WHEREAS: AAPS supports evidence-based medicine and policy, not authority-based medicine and policy;


AAPS supports legislation that would:

(1) limit the duration of emergency declarations to 10 calendar days, and the authority to continually extend them, without the approval of the legislature;

(2) forbid state and local authorities from restricting access to medical care including “off-label” use of FDA-approved drugs;

(3) forbid state and local authorities from subjecting citizens to involuntary medical interventions, including but not limited to drugs, vaccines, or implantation of devices;

(4) require consideration of both public and private costs and benefits of all rules;

(5) require public disclosure of the rationale and evidence for emergency rules; the disclosure of any conflicts of interest, including but not limited to grants, patents, consulting fees, campaign contributions of any governmental or nongovernmental entities providing the evidence; and open public debate;

(6) require prompt access to an unbiased tribunal to contest fines, deprivations  of liberty, or loss of licensure;

(7) require legislative approval of  penalties;

(8) require that any deprivations of liberty are the least restrictive possible, imposed only for clear and  present dangers, subject to timely review, and not such as to subject persons to danger of contagion or other harms or to deprivation of nourishment, medical attention, outside communication, or other needs.