We’re seeing it first-hand in our communities and in decades of evidence: racist practices perpetuated and sanctioned by laws and policies are at the root of the suffering endured by so many people of color, especially Black people, in America. In the midst of a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting the Black community, the brutal killing of George Floyd is yet another example of how structural racism enables egregious harm. Read more.
Law and Policy Perspectives:
Reopening America: Protecting Employees as They Return to Work during COVID-19
Across America, governments are allowing businesses to reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Employees may be eager to return to their jobs and income, but could be at heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission. While companies may comply with state-level or CDC reopening guidance, it is not a foolproof guard against COVID-19. Several types of legal claims may be available to protect employees that return to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Workplace Disparities: Gaps in COVID-19 Protections for Grocery Workers
Outside of health care providers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store workers are among the most at-risk essential employees. Protections for grocery workers are particularly important due to the characteristics of the workforce, a significant number of which are people of color and those with disabilities, along with older adults. Despite having a legal requirement to protect employees in the workplace under federal law, and the added efforts many employers have taken, there are still significant gaps in protections.
Lifeline Program Provides Discounted Access to Needed Telephone and Broadband Internet Services, but is Underutilized
Closing the digital divide is essential to promoting public health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the need for internet and phone access has increased due to social distancing measures and school closures. Many individuals are newly eligible for discounts on broadband and phone services through the federal Lifeline program, however as of April 28, 2020 only 7 million of 38 million eligible individuals had enrolled in the program. This fact sheet provides information on the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program.
Michigan Laws Related to Right of a Minor to Obtain Health Care without Consent or Knowledge of Parents
This issue brief summarizes the rights of minors to consent to various types of health care without the consent or knowledge of their parents. It also covers whether the law permits information concerning the minor’s health care to be shared with the parent. Though the details of this document apply only in Michigan, the legal provisions likely have counterparts in other states.
Legality of Dispensing and Administering Expired Naloxone in Georgia
While states have passed various laws designed to increase access to naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication, none explicitly address the legality of dispensing naloxone that is past its expiration date. This fact sheet discusses whether Georgia laws forbid the prescription, dispensing, distribution, possession, or administration of expired naloxone and whether such actions impact the risk of civil liability for medical professionals who prescribe or dispense naloxone or laypeople who distribute or administer it.
COVID-19: Innovations in Nutrition Programs to Address Food Insecurity
TODAY: June 4 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET
Among the public health challenges that accompany the devastating loss of employment for tens of millions of Americans as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic is an alarming increase in food insecurity. Join us for a webinar on how child nutrition programs, specifically the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option, can be used to support students during the pandemic. The webinar will also include a summary of how SNAP and WIC have been modified in response to the pandemic to better address the needs of Americans, an explanation of how government is working to reduce food waste on farms and support the operations of the Nation’s food banks, and examples of innovative policies implemented by states to address the food security of their vulnerable citizens.
Webinar Series: COVID-19: Public and Global Health Law and Ethics Across Diverse Systems, Populations and Workforces
June 11, June 25, July 9
We’re excited to announce a three-part webinar series in partnership with leading organizations in law, policy and health care focusing on ethics in COVID-19 response. Join us to examine issues at the intersection of pandemic response and human rights, crisis standards of care, and care for vulnerable populations.
The Role of the Legal System in the Flint Water Crisis
This article, published in The Milbank Quarterly and co-authored by Network attorneys Peter D. Jacobson, Colleen Healy Boufides, Denise Chrysler and Jennifer Bernstein, reports on findings from research into the Flint Water Crisis. The authors conclude that flaws in both the legal structure and how the laws were implemented not only failed to stop but also exacerbated the crisis in Flint. Legal preparedness, they write, could prevent future public health crises by helping government officials understand and identify gaps in complex legal arrangements—and better coordinate across agencies and levels of government.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids seeks a Staff Attorney Based in Washington, D.C. The Staff Attorney will provide legal and policy support for regulation of the tobacco industry, including e-cigarettes, by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as state and local tobacco control efforts. The Staff Attorney will play a leading role in high-profile litigation related to FDA regulation of tobacco products and the legal defense of state and local tobacco control laws, including the preparation of amicus briefs. At least 6 years of predominately litigation experience, is required.
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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.