VIDEO: Metro Councilwoman compares people who transmit COVID-19 without wearing a mask, to those who transmit HIV; asks for them to be similarly charged in the criminal court system – asking if Metro Council can create such legislation. She’s visibly disappointed when she learns she doesn’t have that power.
In a special called called Metro Council committee meeting on August 5th, Metro Council member Sharon Hurt asked the Public Safety, Beer & Regulated Beverages, and Health, Hospitals, & Social Services committees joint-session if the council could create criminal legislation to charge citizens who transmitted COVID-19 to another person while not wearing a mask, the same as HIV carriers were charged if they transmitted HIV to another person.
Sharon hurt asks: “My question goes back to legislation. I don’t know if Mike Jameson could be the one to answer the question, but my concern is – you know I work for an organization, that if they pass a virus, then they they are tried for murder, or attempted murder, if they are not told… and this person who may very well pass this virus that’s out in the air because their not wearing a mask is basically doing the same thing to someone who contracts it and dies from it.”
Hurt continues… “It seems to me that we have been more reactive, as opposed to proactive, and a little too late, too little. So, my thing is, maybe there should be legislation, stronger legislation, I don’t know if Mike Jameson is.. can speak to it, but maybe there needs to be stronger legislation to say that if you do not wear a mask and you subject exposure of this virus to someone else then there will be some stronger penalty as it is in other viruses that are exposed.”
Mike Jameson responds “…the council does not have the opportunity on its own to create criminal legislation, that is a state creature. We’re warranted by state law, to apply criminal application to violations, just for example, as the state law allows us to apply a Class E misdemeanor to violate a health director violation.
But, in terms of creating a new code, or class of criminal offenses, that is a creature of state law.”
With apparent disappointment, Councilwoman Sharon hurt closes her speaking period by stating: “No, I was afraid that was going to be the answer, but I guess that’s the whole point of asking for something to be done as early as the council was pushing you know, it was not – it seems – that it wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been, and thus we are in the situation that we’re in right now.”