Wetlands Essential to Combatting the Health Effects of Climate Change Are at Risk

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

September 19, 2023
by Betsy Lawton

Wetlands absorb and slow floodwaters, help alleviate drought conditions, absorb pollutants, and when left undisturbed, store more carbon than forests. Despite their amazing natural features that help counteract the impacts of climate change, many states currently do not protect wetlands beyond what the Clean Water Act requires, and recently, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated protections for wetlands that have been in place for decades.

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Renewed Efforts to Address the Negative Impacts of Inequitable School Discipline

Law & Policy InsightsHealth in SchoolMaternal and Child HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

September 14, 2023
by Susan Fleurant

Students of color, students with disabilities, boys — and particularly those at the intersection of these identities — continue to experience disproportionate rates of discipline. School discipline practices can impede child development, result in reduced instructional time, harm mental health, and increase involvement in the juvenile justice system, among other impacts on health and wellbeing. This year, federal and state agencies have announced renewed efforts to enforce students’ civil rights in school to address longstanding inequities.

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Drug-induced Homicide Laws will not Reduce Overdose Deaths: A Reminder on International Overdose Awareness Day

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectLegislation and Legal Challenges

August 30, 2023
by Amy Lieberman and Ashleigh Dennis

Over one million people in the U.S. have died from overdose since 1999. This year, as we remember those we’ve needlessly lost, we are also seeing calls for increased penalties for people who share drugs. Perhaps the cruelest form of these laws are drug-induced homicide (“DIH”) laws.

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Renters Bill of Rights: Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Rights

Law & Policy InsightsHealthy and Affordable HousingMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

August 22, 2023
by Kathleen Hoke

The Biden Administration’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights (Blueprint) was introduced on January 25, 2023 to drive action at the federal, state, and local levels to strengthen tenant protections and housing affordability. One of the principles outlined in the Blueprint is that governmental bodies should do all they can to enforce fair housing laws, protect renters from unlawful discrimination, and ensure renters know their legal rights.

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Community Health Workers with Lived Experience of Incarceration Are Uniquely Suited to Serve Reentering Populations—But Legal Obstacles Impede Hiring Them

Law & Policy InsightsMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health EquityWorkforce Expansion

August 10, 2023
by Chris Alibrandi O’Connor and Colleen Healy Boufides

People who are incarcerated have higher rates of chronic health conditions, which tend to worsen upon their release, primarily due to the barriers to health care they experience. Despite evidence that employing Community Health Workers with lived experience of incarceration to serve individuals reentering their communities leads to better patient outcomes, significant barriers impede hiring them within health systems.

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Renters Bill of Rights: Clear and Fair Leases

Law & Policy InsightsHealthy and Affordable HousingMechanisms for Advancing Public HealthMechanisms for Advancing Health Equity

August 8, 2023
by Kathleen Hoke

The Biden Administration’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights (Blueprint) was introduced on January 25, 2023 to drive action at the federal, state, and local levels to strengthen tenant protections and housing affordability. One of the principles outlined in the Blueprint is that renters should have clear and fair leases, with defined rental terms, rights, and responsibilities written in simple and clear language.

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Collateral Consequences of Criminalizing Substance Use Disorder

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHarm Reduction Legal ProjectLegislation and Legal Challenges

July 25, 2023
by Ashleigh Dennis and Corey Davis

The “War on Drugs” could better be described as a “War on People.” In addition to obvious negative impacts such as incarceration and increases in drug-related harm, this “War” also leads to collateral consequences that can last for years —or even a lifetime. Collateral consequences are legal barriers resulting from a person’s conviction in addition to incarceration, parole or probation, and fines and fees.

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Innovative Laws and Policies for Public Health: How Insights from Public Health Departments Shaped an Analysis of Forward-Looking Policies

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Mechanisms for Advancing Public HealthLegislation and Legal ChallengesPublic Health Funding and Infrastructure

July 25, 2023
by Jill Krueger

The Network for Public Health Law’s report, Innovative Law and Policy Strategies for a Post-Pandemic Public Health System, which highlights examples of laws and legal levers implemented across the country that strengthen public health, was inspired and shaped in large part by three questions raised by public health practitioners in the field in three different states.

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As One State Strides Forward on Evidence-Based Drug Policy, Another Slides Back

Law & Policy InsightsSubstance Use Prevention and Harm ReductionHarm Reduction Legal Project

June 28, 2023
by Corey Davis

Unlike how they regulate the far more deadly drug products tobacco and alcohol, states overwhelmingly continue to treat individuals who use illicit drugs as criminals, and state law is oriented towards arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating them. A few states, however, have made more significant changes, and some have made less drastic but still important changes.

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