Across the country, state and local governments, nonprofits, religious organizations, community groups and dedicated individuals are working to address growing food insecurity. President Biden has committed to addressing the mounting hunger crisis as part of his plan for recovery. This policy overview identifies what actions the Biden administration has taken to-date and what we might expect to see in the future. Read more.
Public Health Authority and the COVID-19 Pandemic
A substantial subset of bills introduced in state legislatures in 2020 and 2021 concern public health authority. Many of them, if passed, will limit or minimize such authority. An event as singular and far-reaching as the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably have both short and long-term implications for public health authority and public health law. How state laws will evolve to address public health authority as it relates to community mitigation and ongoing public health emergencies is not yet settled, but should be guided by fundamental principles, not transient political interests.
Individual Rights and the Public’s Health: Constitutional, Ethical, and Political Aspects of COVID-19 Measures and Their Enforcement
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the tension between individual rights and the public good to the forefront of the national discourse. Many pandemic response measures—such as stay-at-home orders, mandatory business closures or restrictions, and mask mandates—have evoked vocal opposition by individuals who feel these measures infringe on their freedom. Despite the authority of public health to implement these measures, noncompliance has been a significant issue.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Employer Mandates
With COVID-19 vaccinations underway, public and private employers across the U.S. are considering the potential for vaccine requirements for their workforces, especially among health care workers. This guidance addresses the question of whether public and private sector employers can generally mandate employee vaccination, and whether that answer changes based on the fact that current COVID-19 vaccines have received emergency use authorization, but have not been formally authorized by the FDA.
Increasing Access to Opioid Agonist Treatment: An Innovative, Cross-Sector Approach
TODAY: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET | February 25, 2021
Despite the proven effectiveness of utilizing opioid agonist treatment (OAT) to treat those experiencing an opioid use disorder, a multitude of structural and policy barriers prevent them from accessing treatment. Attend this webinar to learn about an innovative, multi-sector approach to identifying and removing barriers to OAT in eight sectors: health care, the criminal legal system, family law, housing, zoning, transportation, education and youth, and employment—as outlined in the newly released paper, A Cross Sector Approach to Removing Legal and Policy Barriers to Opioid Agonist Treatment.
Housing Matters: Legal and Policy Approaches to Preventing Housing Instability
1:00 - 2:30 EST | March 25, 2021
Eviction has damaging health consequences that can last lifetimes, or even generations. Families grappling with housing uncertainty experience physical and mental health challenges, from elevated rates of childhood and chronic disease and mortality, to stress, depression, anxiety and suicide. Nationwide, Black and Hispanic renters in general, and women in particular, are disproportionately threatened with eviction and disproportionately evicted from their homes. Attend this webinar to learn about state and local legal approaches to preventing eviction and its devastating public health consequences.
2021 Public Health Law Conference: Building and Supporting Healthy Communities for All
September 21 – 23, 2021 | Baltimore, MD
The 2021 Public Health Law Conference will examine law and policy pathways to: equitable COVID-19 recovery; improving child and adolescent health; addressing environmental and climate challenges; eliminating the social and structural barriers to health equity; and addressing critical issues like the ACA, opioids, mental health, gun violence and vaccinations. Note: Due to current uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve adjusted our registration cancellation policy to allow for a full refund if conditions do not improve by fall. We hope this policy will give those planning to attend the conference more flexibility. We will provide registrants with regular updates.
Data Genocide of American Indians and Alaska Natives in COVID-19 Data
The Urban Indian Health Institute’s latest report tracks states’ collection and presentation of COVID-19 data for AI/AN. The report provides a letter grade for each state on four metrics: 1) How well they collect racial data, 2) How well they present American Indian/Alaskan Native data on their state dashboard, 3) How well they report confirmed cases to CDC and 4) How well they report confirmed racial data to CDC.
Resource: An Emerging Threat to Public Health Authority
This spring, amid an ongoing pandemic, almost half of state legislatures are considering bills that could substantially limit state and local public health powers. This fact sheet, produced by Local Solutions Support Center and ChangeLab Solutions, summarizes this emerging threat to state and local public health authority and identifies some of the possible outcomes.
State Policy and Program Strategies to Advance Health and Racial Equity
This chart from the National Academy for State Health Policy outlines the strategies states are using, including cross-agency collaboration, effective use of data, and improved community input and staff diversity, to address the root causes of racial and ethnic disparities and advance equity.
Webinar: Building Equity into Sweetened Beverage Taxes
Join the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic for a webinar on equitable and effective policy options for reducing the consumption of beverages high in added sugar on March 11 at 12:30 p.m. ET. This webinar is part of the "Approaches to Reducing Consumption of Sugar" initiative supported by Arnold Ventures.
Equity and Inclusion Health Law and Policy Fellowship
Athene Law and the Center for Legal Affairs of the California Medical Association have announced the creation of an equity and inclusion Health Law and Policy Fellowship for summer 2021, designed to increase access to the health care law sector for law students from underrepresented communities and backgrounds. With the long-term goal of increasing diversity in the health law segment of the legal profession, the Fellowship is designed to provide law students demonstrating high potential with an intensive and meaningful legal experience at two prominent health law organizations.
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The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.