Law & Policy Insights

Food Allergies: A Call for Greater Precaution in the Food Service Industry

Law & Policy InsightsInjury Prevention and SafetyFood Safety and Security

February 12, 2020

As food allergies become more prevalent, there is increased risk of harm from serious and life-threatening reactions. However, this risk is frequently overlooked or disregarded by the food service industry. While federal law requires the packaged food industry to label any major allergens in their products, there is no mandate that restaurants do so. In response, several states have enacted legislation requiring food-service establishments to take additional food allergen precautions.

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Marijuana Delivery: California’s Looming Legal Battle

Law & Policy InsightsMarijuana Legalization

February 12, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana use, they are being confronted with a broad spectrum of policy issues. One of the emerging issues is whether to allow the legal cannabis industry to deliver marijuana directly to customers. Advocates see it as an issue of access, especially for medical marijuana patients. Opponents argue that delivery will make it easier for kids to get marijuana and that the delivery vehicles will be targeted by criminals.

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As Temperatures Rise, Equitable Tree Cover can Help Mitigate the Health Risks from Urban Heat Islands and Address Health Inequities within Communities

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

January 30, 2020
by Betsy Lawton

Trees are beautiful, but are they also a cure for climate change related health hazards? We know that trees beautify urban spaces, increase property values, reduce stress, improve mental health, and benefit communities by reducing crime rates and increasing social cohesion. But tree cover can also provide significant cooling benefits to offset dangerous temperatures during extreme heat events, which are on the rise in urban areas as a result of climate change.

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Overdose “Good Samaritan” Laws Should Protect, Not Punish

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionOpioid Misuse and Overdose PreventionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectHarm Reduction Legal Project Resources

January 26, 2020
by Corey Davis

Overdose “Good Samaritan” laws are theoretically designed to encourage people to call for help in an overdose emergency by providing limited legal immunity to overdose victims and those who seek help for them, but many of these laws currently have limitations that discourage people from seeking help.

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Law and Policy Pathways to Protect Soil Health—A Critical Component of a Healthy Climate and a Healthy Population

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and HealthTribal Health

December 17, 2019
by Jill Krueger

Healthy soil contains organic matter that contributes to the nutritional quality of food and can have a significant impact on agricultural output. It also plays a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change by reducing erosion and storm water runoff, protecting against drought, and reducing carbon emissions. Policymakers at both the federal and local level are increasingly including laws and provisions that promote healthy soils in their environmental policies and legislation.

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Federal Housing Policy: From Disappointing Regulatory Proposals to Inspiring Enforcement Actions

Law & Policy InsightsHealthy and Affordable Housing

December 17, 2019
by Kathleen Hoke

Public health leaders have criticized a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposal that would place an increased burden on those seeking to prove discrimination in housing practices. While the HUD proposal moves through the regulatory process, another federal agency, the Department of Justice, continues to do its part to prevent discrimination in housing and punish those who engage in unfair and illegal housing practices.

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Protecting Women’s Reproductive Rights—An Examination of Preclearance Provisions Under the Reproductive Rights Act

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Reform

December 4, 2019

In 2019, several states passed strict laws limiting access to abortion. Some state laws specifically aim to overturn the seminal case, Roe v. Wade. Proposed legislation modeled after the Voting Rights Act seeks to require states with a history of restricting access to abortion to preclear any new abortion law with the Department of Justice before such law or practice can take effect.

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Navigating Law to Share Environmental Health Data: Highlights from the Public Health Law Summit

Law & Policy InsightsHealth Information and Data SharingEnvironment, Climate and Health

December 4, 2019
by Colleen Healy Boufides

The medium through which an environmental exposure occurs (e.g., water, air, soil) is often geographically based and/or clustered. For this reason, responding to an environmental health threat in a meaningful and timely way requires real-time, granular data and prompt local action. The broad range of potentially relevant environmental health data sources highlights one of the key legal challenges with obtaining and using local data: often each type of data (hazard, exposure and health outcome) is governed by a different law and may be collected by a different entity.

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Public Health Law News Round-Up – Fall 2019

Law & Policy Insights

November 21, 2019

Public health law and policy stories that made headlines recently include expanding Medicaid access post-postpartum to improve maternal mortality rates; how changes in naloxone access laws could save thousands of lives; Juul’s suspension of flavored e-cigarette product sales amid growing scrutiny of its advertising practices; how proposed food-stamp cutbacks could worsen obesity and food insecurity in the U.S.; and a landmark ruling on supervised injection sites.

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Federal Restrictions on Funding for Syringe Services Programs

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectOpioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention

November 21, 2019
by Corey Davis

Syringe service programs (SSP) are places where people who inject drugs (PWID) can receive new syringes and other injection equipment and drop off used supplies. They typically also provide other harm reduction and health promotion services including referrals to treatment, hepatitis C and HIV testing, the overdose reversal medication naloxone, and other related services. Nevertheless, SSPs are controversial due to stigma around PWID and many states prohibit the use of state funds for the operation of SSPs.

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