• Polito: Governor's shocking power


    (MyFoxBoston.com)-- Consider this. The government comes to your house, kicks you out, takes your car, and there's nothing you can do about it. Then they go to your office or the factory where you work. The state kicks out your boss and takes over the business. Sounds like one of Ron Paul's nightmares or the plot of a thriller. It's not. It's all possible under Massachusetts law.

    Just as the Cold War was heating up, Beacon Hill lawmakers passed the Civil Defense Act of 1950. It created the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, otherwise known as MEMA. You remember them, Nicole Jacobs reported from their Framingham bunker during the blizzard. MEMA was established to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear or biological attack by the former Soviet Union. The Civil Defense Act of 1950 has been amended to cover natural disasters, but the original legislation remains intact.

    Let's get back to the Ron Paul nightmare. The governor has expanded powers once a state of emergency has been declared. He can take your property, take your car, just about anything, and many people don't know this. Remember last Friday when the governor ordered everybody off the roads? He said that anyone caught driving would be arrested and go to jail for a year. Guess what? He can do it. Look up Section 8 of Chapter 639 of The Acts of 1950. Technically, the governor can make laws, or ignore laws, and it's pretty close to absolute power when there's a state of emergency.

    So what about your car and house? If the government needs it to deal with an emergency, they can take it. They can even take over a business, or a factory, and control them. After the emergency is over, you have to sue the state to be compensated for your loss. The governor can set curfews and restrict access to public or private property, including your own. Anything the state requires to manage the crisis is fair game. After the state of emergency is lifted, the governor would have to answer for his actions during the crisis.

    There's one group of people who are not surprised by this: government workers who are part of a union. The law also makes null and void any union contracts. During the state of emergency, managers can ignore any negotiated work conditions. That provision is often used to force people into working more overtime, such as people who operate plow trucks.

    Now that you know this, think about it the next time you vote for a person to become governor. You're handing them more power than most people could handle.


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