Thursday, November 5, 2020
In September, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping (the “Order”), with stated goals to promote unity and to “combat offensive and Anti-American race and sex stereotyping” within the federal workforce. The intent of the Order is to restrict trainings on gender and race discrimination that have “divisive concepts.” Our policy assessment uses a public health lens to examine this fundamentally flawed Order.
Ruling Preserves Critical Access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule limiting states’ ability to provide benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was struck down by a federal judge who held that both the substance of the rule and the way that the USDA formulated it violated the law. The judge found it particularly striking that the agency would take this action against the backdrop of a pandemic that has “rocked the economy, killed nearly 220,000 Americans, quadrupled the national unemployment rate, and dramatically increased the number of Americans forced to reckon with hunger this year.”
Safe Voting During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Public Health Orders and Legal Challenges in Two Jurisdictions
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged states to provide safe conditions for individuals to vote in the Presidential election. In two southwestern states, public health executive orders (New Mexico) and legal challenges (Arizona) highlight the use of legal tools, either through public health orders or litigation, to try to address the challenges of balancing the need for individuals to exercise their right to vote with public health precautions during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Public Health Decision-Making Tool
Health officials and boards of health have a duty to protect the public’s health. They have a great amount of discretion in how they fulfill this duty and must make difficult decisions around emerging threats that require balancing many factors. A proper exercise of discretion involves consideration of facts known at the time, weighing options, and using professional judgment. This tool provides a checklist of key questions for public health decision-makers and practitioners to consider in making a decision whether to act or to wait based on information known at the time.
Identifying Legal and Policy Strategies to Promote Mental Health and Well-Being
Mental health is deeply interconnected with physical health. The law provides tools to improve health by addressing physical, social and economic factors that influence health outcomes at the population level. This overview outlines current needs and trends in mental health promotion, including innovative legal strategies, as well as gaps where additional research and advocacy is needed.
Public Charge Rule Resource Collection
The new public charge rule that recently went into effect changed what benefits an immigration officer will consider in determining if a person is likely to become a public charge, to include benefits relating to food and nutrition, healthcare (most forms of Medicaid), and housing. There is a lot of confusion about the public charge rule so that those who are not actually impacted by the rule (citizens, legal permanent residents, refugees) are not using benefits they are entitled to because they are worried. This resource collection on the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance’s website provides guidance on understanding and navigating the rule.
Loss of the ACA Could Greatly Erode Health Coverage and Benefits for Women
Health insurance coverage is a critical factor in making health care affordable and accessible to women. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to affordable coverage through a combination of Medicaid expansions, private insurance reforms, and premium tax credits. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the most recent challenge to the ACA, this article from KFF considers what the loss of the ACA would mean for women.
Today: NACCHO Webinar on Public Health Official Safety - Existing State Protections for Public Health Officials
NACCHO invites local health department leadership and staff to participate this webinar on Thursday, November 5 at 3:00 pm ET to discuss the ongoing threats that many public health officials are experiencing as they work to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Brooke Torton, JD, Senior Staff Attorney, and Kathi Hoke, Director, from the Network for Public Health Law - Eastern Region will describe the existing legal landscape in states with criminal statutes which may provide protection for public health officials. This webinar will provide important information for public health and legal staff at the state and county level.
Register for the All In Data for Health National Meeting
Join All In: Data for Community Health on December 8-10, 2020 for our 4th Annual National
Meeting. This year's meeting will feature inspirational speakers on the compelling issues facing our communities, practitioners and residents who will share their stories, tools and practical lessons; and interactive opportunities to share your experience tackling common challenges as they relate to multi-sector community-based data sharing projects focused on health, well-being, and equity.
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Network Report and encourage others to join the Network!
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.