Even as public health efforts are focused on getting vaccines in arms and responding to the medical, economic, and social impacts of COVID-19, new laws are being made that have serious implications in the near term and for future public health emergencies. Join us in Baltimore to examine the use of public health measures to mitigate harm from COVID-19, recent legislative and other efforts to severely limit these measures, and strategies to strengthen public health’s capacity to protect communities. Learn more and register.
Implicit Bias and Public Health Law
Implicit bias is when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. Implicit bias is unintentional and automatic, but it affects how we process information, make decisions, and act. With respect to public health law, we must be cognizant of the myriad ways in which implicit bias can manifest at every stage from program development and enactment to enforcement issues.
Public Health Law News Roundup
Some of the public health law and policy issues in the headlines in recent weeks include California’s new law requiring mental health courses be taught in schools, the challenges schools face in remaining open during the omicron surge, the addition of a common chemical to the FDAs list of hazardous chemicals, Medicaid expansion on the ballot in South Dakota, and libraries’ efforts to meet the growing social service needs of their patrons.
Federal Vaccine Mandates in Response to COVID-19
This fact sheet lists and briefly explains the slate of federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates along with a “snapshot” assessment of their current legal status based on select case outcomes. Ongoing litigation surrounding federal vaccine mandates has been highly dynamic and subject to change, especially following the anticipated issuance of a rapid decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
COVID-19 Related Opinions and Orders from the U.S. Supreme Court
This table highlights full opinions and orders (with opinions), issued by the U.S. Supreme Court related to, or connected with, the COVID-19 pandemic from February 2020 to January 4, 2022. Cases are listed chronologically and organized by case name, topic and summary.
Mortgage and Homeownership Assistance
Research indicates that policies designed to facilitate home ownership may do more to improve health and wellbeing, as well as economic stability, than renter protections. Home ownership rates in the U.S. remain low, especially among Black and Hispanic residents. One of the significant barriers is the need for most first-time homebuyers to obtain mortgages, which require that they have decent credit scores, steady incomes, and cash reserves to qualify. Federal and state mortgage lenders and/or assistance programs can remove some of these barriers to homeownership.
COVID-19 and Crisis Standards of Care Implementation: Navigating the Legal Challenges
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST | January 20, 2022
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, punctuated in its third year by the meteoric spread of the Omicron variant, has necessitated repeated shifts to Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) and raised multiple legal challenges. Attend this webinar to hear about four key challenges concerning: (1) confusion regarding legal triggers for CSC implementation; (2) gaps in regional and cross-jurisdictional cooperation; (3) discriminatory impacts in CSC plans and their implementation; and (4) varying “tie-breaker” decisions involving resource allocations. Presenters will also discuss potential solutions to these challenges to help ensure equitable and effective CSC implementation ahead.
Strengthening Public Health Protections for Communities
A Message from the Network's National Director
Perhaps more than at any other time in its history, public health is being directly and significantly impacted by how laws and policies are being implemented—or weakened. More than half of states have passed legislation to limit the ability of public health agencies to implement critical evidence-based disease response measures. These laws are coming at a time when we are seeing ongoing public health issues —food and housing insecurity, chronic diseases, mental health, overdose deaths, and racial violence — further exacerbated by the pandemic.
Network for Public Health Law Comment to HHS Providing Evidence Showing Relationship Between Health and Voting
The Network's Southeastern Region Director Dawn Hunter submitted a response on January 10 to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Solicitation of Written Comments on Proposed Healthy People 2030 Objectives and Request for Information on the Relationship Between Voter Participation and Health. Read the response here. The Healthy People initiative serves as key guidance to health departments and their partners in developing a robust and comprehensive agenda that improves public health and health equity in the communities they serve.
As more states contemplate cannabis legalization, understanding the broad spectrum of public health and policy issues, including advertising restrictions, personal cultivation regulations, social consumption sites, delivery services, local authority to limit or prohibit recreational marijuana enterprises, and social equity measures, is critical. To assist those working in the everchanging environment of cannabis legalization, the Network is launching a newsletter with quarterly updates on statutory and regulatory changes at the federal and state level, key issues, emerging research and articles related to cannabis use and distribution. The first issue is planned for late January and those interested can subscribe here.
Grassroots and Communications Project Manager
The American Public Health Association is seeking a Grassroots and Communications Project Manager to work on two key efforts involving advocacy and working with partners at the community level. The individual will help lead APHA’s work with a collaborative effort to prevent challenges to public health authority at the state level. Additionally, the position will be assigned part-time to the Alliance for Disease Prevention and Response. The individual will coordinate efforts of the two initiatives with relevant APHA staff and departments, Affiliates, and members.
The Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is seeking applications for General Attorney positions in its Region 1, Boston Regional Office. The General Attorney will function as a generalist who conducts administrative and federal court litigation and provides legal advice, counseling, and negotiation services to, or on behalf of, HHS Agencies and staff divisions.
The County of San Diego is currently accepting applications to fill an immediate vacancy for the position of Senior Deputy County Counsel - Advisory Option HHSA in the Office of County Counsel. This position provides legal advice to County officials on matters involving the County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). Attorneys will advise on federal, state and local laws and regulations relevant to HHSA, including contracting and privacy laws.
2021 Network for Public Health Law Impact Report
During this unprecedented time for public health, Network law and policy experts have provided critical legal technical assistance, resources and training to the public health community and others. Read highlights of the Network’s work in assisting the public health workforce—as well as health care providers, policymakers, educators, advocates and researchers in addressing the systems that drive health inequities; protecting voter health and participation; reducing drug related harm; addressing food and housing insecurity; facilitating data sharing to improve community health; and confronting the opposition and threats to public health measures and authority.
This comprehensive suite of datasets from the Center for Public Health Law Research covers 15 different types of abortion regulations: Abortion Advertising Restrictions, Abortion Bans, Abortion Provider Qualifications, Abortion Reporting Requirements, Abortion Requirements for Minors, Pre-Abortion Requirements, Medication Abortion Requirements, Protecting Access to Abortion Clinics, Refusal to Perform Abortions, Restrictions on Insurance Coverage of Abortion, Restrictions on Public Funding of Abortion, and Statutory and Constitutional Right to Abortion. This dataset provides a longitudinal overview of these 15 regulatory areas within each state, and includes laws, case law, and attorney general opinions in effect from December 1, 2018, through October 1, 2021.
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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.