Contact: Senator Bob Clegg

(603) 271 – 2111

Thursday, February 23, 2006

SenatePasses Pandemic Bill

Concord , NH Today the Senate passed SB 399, abill which gives the Commissioner of Health and Human Services certain powers during a pandemic. Passage of the bill was lead by Majority Leader Bob Clegg (R-Hudson) and Senator Jack Barnes (R-Raymond).

Senate Bill 399 authorizes the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to ration and prioritize certain pharmaceutical agents in the event of a shortage during a pandemic. SB 399 also authorizes the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to close public places during a pandemic.

Specifically SB 399-FN amends RSA 141-C to allow the Commissioner of Health and Human Services to control, restrict and ration the distribution of vaccines and anti-toxins.

We can hope that we never have to use this plan, but if something serious should happen, Republicans wanted to make certain that New Hampshire is prepared for it” stated Majority Leader Clegg. Senator Clegg continued, "I worked with the Governor’s office, Department of Health and Human Services to craft a bill that blue prints what steps are taken so that confusion can be avoided in a time of crisis.”

Senator Jack Barnes commented, “This bill is exactly what New Hampshire needs in the closet in case of emergencies. We need the ability to quickly make decisions and have a plan to help the affected. Businesses in New Hampshire also need to be protected as they can be taken over by the government during times of emergency. SB 399 makes it clear that any business that is affected will be compensated at fair market price.”

The Senate passed SB 399 by a voice vote today and wishes swift passageby the House Representatives on this vital piece of legislation.