Martial law declared in New England
Facing up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine for merely driving their own cars on public streets and highways, citizens in various areas within the New England region have been hit with executive orders, threatening residents with criminal penalties if they leave their homes and attempt to drive during the current snowstorm.
Using the color of law to impose demands on the public that can only be seen as a massive overreach of power, individuals inConnecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusettsthus far have been issued bans on driving in those areas.
The only exceptions, according to R.I.’s WPRI, are the news media, public safety vehicles and public works vehicles and workers that includes contract personnel, government officials on official business, utility company vehicles and workers, health care workers who travel to and from work in order to provide essential health services, travel necessary to maintain and deliver critical private sector services such as energy, fuel supplies, financial systems and critical commodities and travel to support business operations that provide critical services to the public, including gas stations, food stores and hardware stores.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also signed an executive order banning all non-essential motor vehicle travel statewide beyond 4 p.m., believed to be the first such travel ban since the blizzard of 1978, according to the Associated Press.
Connecticut’s Gov. Dannel P. Malloy imposed a travel ban of his own Friday on the state’s limited access highways and deployed National Guard troops around the state for rescues or other emergencies.
Thus far, authorities in other areas in the region, such as New York, have not stated if they will be following suit. It is also unclear as to how long the executive orders stand or if it is even legal to impose such demands on the public’s right to travel freely, regardless of the conditions.
Many residents in the area have openly expressed being surprised by the “overreaction,” seeing the executive orders as completely unnecessary, considering New England and surrounding areas are used to seeing snow storms of similar magnitudes almost every season.