Pride Month: Law and Policy Developments Affecting the LGBTQ+ Community

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

June 16, 2021
by Carrie Waggoner and Jennifer Bernstein

Pride Month is a celebration by and among individuals and communities of sometimes-hard-won acceptance and affirmation of sexual orientation and gender identity, by and among individuals and communities. This month, Network attorneys highlight recent law and policy developments related to health equity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

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Car Seats and Rideshare Services: The Need for Improved Safety Laws

Law & Policy InsightsInjury Prevention and Safety

June 16, 2021
by Jennifer Bernstein

Parents want to ensure the safety of their children whenever they are passengers in their vehicles by using appropriate car seats or booster seats. Every state has laws regarding child safety restraints for young children while riding in a motor vehicle. However, what happens when parents of young children travel? Rideshares, like Uber and Lyft, are an attractive way to get from the airport to a hotel or other destination. Unfortunately, the requirements around using child safety restraints in rideshares vary by state and are often vague.

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Public Health Law News Roundup – June 2021

Law & Policy Insights

June 3, 2021
by Mosalewa Ani

Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include HIPAA and proof of vaccination; colleges’ vaccination plans; racial disparities in vaccination rates; possible changes to governors’ authority during future public health emergencies; the relationship between COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic; and the Department of Health and Human Services’ strategy to increase vaccination rates.

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The Federal Food and Drug Administration and the Future of Food Safety

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

June 1, 2021
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety Initiative released by the agency in June of 2020 serves as the blueprint for the FDA’s approach to food safety over the next decade. While it builds on the foundation created by the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act, the Initiative represents a new approach to food safety that will leverage technology and data to create a safer food system.

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New Report on Proposed Limits on Public Health Authority

Network NewsEmergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseLegislation and Legal ChallengesPublic Health Authority

May 24, 2021

At least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering measures to limit severely the legal authority of public health agencies to protect the public from serious illness, injury, and death. This new report released by the Network and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), provides an overview of public health authority and its important role in protecting the health of communities, as well as examples of specific laws that would limit public health authority.

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Rethinking and Reducing the Role of Law Enforcement in Suicide Prevention Efforts

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMental Health and Well-BeingRacism as a Public Health Crisis

May 18, 2021
by April Shaw

It’s essential to rethink suicide prevention that involves the use of police, and to forge a new path forward that does not result in additional trauma or even death of the very persons whose life—and quality of life—suicide prevention advocates are seeking to protect.

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The Affordable Care Act: Reflections on 10 Years

Law & Policy InsightsMedicaid

May 6, 2021
by Sarah Somers

Despite repeated attacks by opponents in the past 10 years, the ACA has not only survived – it has thrived. Because of the law, millions of people gained insurance coverage for the first time. Millions more have increased security when insured, benefitting from prohibitions on discrimination by insurers and protections for people with preexisting conditions. In this commentary, Sarah Somers, J.D., M.P.H., managing attorney at the Network’s Southeastern Region Office, reflects on a decade of significant events and greatest successes in the ACA’s history, and provides a preview of things to come.

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Social Determinants of Health Legislation: Opportunities for a New Future

Law & Policy Insights

May 5, 2021

Since as early as 2008, we have known the integral role the Social Determinants of Health (SDOHs) play in health outcomes. However, it was not until 2020 that Congress acknowledged public health’s important role in “working across sectors on social determinants of health” and funded an SDOH pilot program. Although the project is a step in the right direction, we must also support policies and legislation that directly addresses the SDOHs, including the Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021 recently reintroduced to the House of Representatives.

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Public Health Law News Roundup – May 2021

Law & Policy Insights

May 5, 2021
by Mosalewa Ani

Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s move to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars; President Biden’s plan to strengthen America's digital infrastructure; new federal guidelines to increase access to an important Opioid use disorder treatment; threats and harassment directed at public health officials due to COVID-19; the corrosive impact of racism on the health of Black Americans; how public health can be improved by addressing climate change; and Oregon’s newly passed legislation designed to help prevent youth suicide.

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