Saturday, January 19, 2008

NYC says ignorance is bliss... just trust the City with your health.

The New York City Soviet wants to license private ownership of "the possession or use of any instruments which monitor chemical, biological or radiological contamination" -- to "reduce excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety..."

I kid you not. Private sources of information about contamination of the environment could be banned under a bill pending before the NYC council; since the power to license is the power to ban. Says NYCOSH,

Had such legislation been in place on and after 9/11, the independent testing done by unions and community-based organizations could not have been legally conducted and what we now know about the contamination of Lower Manhattan would be limited."


Let's see, since measuring the environment and communicating about it is communication - speech about information in the public domain, the Supreme Court's "two prong test" for government restrictions on speech should apply.

The first prong is to ask two questions: (1) is the speech in question about unlawful activity and (2) is the speech misleading. If "no" to both, the speech is entitled to protection unless the Government can carry its burden and prove (1) the governmental interest involved is "substantial", (2) the regulation must "directly advance" the governmental interest and (3) the regulation of Commercial Speech cannot be "more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest" (quoting Central Hudson v Public Service, 447 US 557, at 566).

Is "reducing anxiety" a "substantial" governmental interest? Hardly. We have a right to the truth, no matter how that may make us feel.

Is reducing false alarms? How does licensing "directly advance" that interest? How does it do so without being "more extensive than is necessary...?"

What this bill #650 does is protect the authorities from embarrassment. That's it. And our health be damned.

As we have been saying: No health without freedom.

No comments: