The Big Talk looks at eviction moratoriums, texts from the government, and a Congressional medal for Capitol Police

CHAMBERSBURG – Every weekday morning on First News, the local – live morning radio information show with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen features the big talk topics and opinion from local Attorney Clint Barkdoll.

On August 4, the Big Talk discussed the eviction moratoriums coming back, the fact that PA wants to text reminders for the second vaccine and the US Senate voted unanimously to give Capitol police departments a Congressional medal.

Eviction moratorium might be back on – wait, what?

Just days after the eviction moratorium expired, the CDC announced they are extending the moratorium on evictions but only if the affected property is in a county that is deemed to have a high rate of COVID transmission, which is many counties in the United States.

So on Saturday the eviction moratorium (that has been in place practically since COVID began) expired. So landlords and banks were able to start eviction and foreclosure notifications as of Monday.

But the CDC is apparently trying to tap the brakes.

However, the US Supreme Court in their decision in June to uphold the moratorium very clearly said July 31 was it. They would not approve any further moratorium extensions without Congressional approval.

Even President Biden said the CDC’s extension is likely illegal and it won’t stand.

Barkdoll said, “This is such an odd situation. It seems like it’s changing from week to week. I think today you’re going to see challenges filed against this new rule and they’re likely going to succeed.”

Additionally the PA Supreme Court in response to a petition from Bucks County said they would not enforce the moratorium if the tenant in one of these situations has an application pending for emergency rent relief.

So if you’re a landlord in PA and your tenant has a pending application for rent relief that hasn’t been processed yet, you still may not be able to evict.

Jansen pointed out, “The CDC seems to be not a health organization anymore, but a political organization. Democrats hammered this whole idea. Why didn’t Biden act fast enough? They cry and cry and then the CDC comes out with a ruling the favors their leftist wants and needs from that party. It feels like a political thing more than anything else.”

Barkdoll said, “My prediction is I think you’re right, this is buying a few more days perhaps in these cases. I’ll bet maybe even by the end of next week if not, certainly, next week, you’re going to see a federal court order that says this is illegal because we have a US Supreme Court decision from June that says July 31 is the absolute drop dead date. No further extensions without Congressional approval so I don’t know if this is just a ploy by the CDC to appease some in what they perceive as a political base on the left, but I don’t see how this passes legal muster.”

If you got your fist vax but not the second, you may be getting a text message from the state

The Wolf administration has decided one way to reach citizens would be by text message.

Apparently 200,000 Pennsylvanians have gotten the first vaccine for COVID 19, but not the second.

The answer? According to the Wolf administration those folks just need a text reminder.

Barkdoll said, “One thing that I think’s missing from this, this is something that a doctor shared with me yesterday that apparently many of these places where you go get your first COVID vaccine, there’s a form where you can opt in to text notifications. So one of the issues here is if the patient has opted into that, they’ve already said they are willing to receive the text alerts, so in those cases, I think it’s hard for the state to say, no you’re not allowed to do that because the person has already authorized it. On the other hand, if someone has opted out of that option, or they never gave permission in the first place, then I think it gets more questionable. Should the government be notifying them that it’s time to come back in for a second vaccine?”

Right now it doesn’t look like there will be any court challenges to this text message thing.

Barkdoll added, “But as you’re pointing out I know some in the state Senate and the state House are saying to the Department of Health, we think this is an overreach. We don’t want the government notifying these people to come back in and they’re citing privacy, the data breach problems we know that happened with the contract tracing last year. That all may be a legitimate concern, but I still think the problem in that argument is if the patient opted in to receive the alert I don’t see how they can tell the Department of Health not to do it.”

Jansen said, “But I see nothing in the media release from the Department of Health that says they’re going to be doing the people that opted in. It implies everyone who got a first dose who did not get a second dose is going to get this text.”

Barkdoll said, “That’s right. Certainly there’s people that get the vaccine where they would not have shared a cell phone number, maybe they don’t even have a cell phone. That’s the other piece that’s not clear to me. You’re right. The release doesn’t delineate any of this. Is the 200,000 a total number or is that a number of people where they only have a cell phone notification? Because if it’s a total number then the real number that have the text numbers in the database may be actually much less.”

State Senator Judy Ward said, “Your personal health information should be protected. I don’t know that I want the government meddling in my personal health information. Some people may feel differently about it and that’s fine for them but you absolutely should have an opt-in because the way I see it, it violates HIPPA. HIPPA is a really big deal. That’s your personal, protected health information.”

Jansen added, “And let’s try to keep a reasonable idea of risk assessment here because as much this Delta variant is spreading in terms of numbers of cases, the hospitalizations and especially the deaths are not anywhere near like when we were being hit hard with COVID months and a year ago.”

Capitol police involved in the event of January 6 will get a Congressional medal

The US Senate voted unanimously yesterday to award Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department with a Congressional medal for their efforts on January 6.

Ryan asked, “Shouldn’t we get information about where’s the video? Where’s the information? Were people opening up the gates? Were some of the police opening up the gates? There’s some question now. Was someone paid off? Are there operatives working inside to create a stir? I think it’s awfully presumptuous to hand out medals when we’re still in the midst of an investigation. We don’t have any truth. Premature on this?”

Barkdoll said, “It ties in to what we were discussing yesterday. There are certainly a lot of unanswered questions about January 6. I’m not confident that this investigative select committee is going to sort any of that out because it has become so partisan. We know that for whatever reason there are problems that a lot of these officers are having post January 6. We talked yesterday about we’re up to six now that have committed suicide that were there that day. I don’t know if some of the strategy here was on one hand not only to let these police departments know on behalf of the US Senate anyway that hey we appreciate you, we like everything you’re doing. At the same time, was there somewhat of maybe a strategy here? That they want these officers to know that they’re supporting them and they want to do what they can to show that they’re supporting them, but there are still so many unanswered questions. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get to the bottom of some of these things.”

Jansen wondered, “Or is it also a strategy to say ‘hey, we’ve got your back. Don’t make any waves. If you know that maybe you asked for something and we didn’t give it to you, look what we’re doing. We’re making you heroes. We’ll make life smooth and easy for you if you don’t ask any questions.’ Because I think some Capitol police officers actually have some questions as to why we didn’t have more help that day.”

Barkdoll said, “And that is one of the issues part of these investigations. There’s evidence that calls were made that day to dispatch the National Guard. For whatever reason they were not brought in. Every day you’re seeing more and more videos that are getting leaked out. Initially the reports were there were absolutely no guns on the scene that day. That was the narrative for months in the media. Now you see there’s multiple people that have been charged with having loaded weapons on the ground that day. The sand just seems like it keeps shifting in this situation week after week. I think the problem in a scenario like that is it really starts to undermine the credibility on all sides. People are hearing so much different information every week that it becomes hard then to decipher what really is the truth. We know there’s already problems with this investigative committee that again I think will further undermine whatever report they will ultimately generate.”

Listen to the full audio here: