The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating existing barriers to voting and election participation, making it more difficult for people across the country to exercise their right to vote. As the nation continues to grapple with COVID-19, local and state agencies face numerous challenges in their work to protect our voting systems and ensure that everyone can safely and securely vote in November. The Network is collaborating with public health and other partners to help raise awareness and provide resources to protect public health and voter participation. Learn more and access resources.
The Network has joined with public health law partners to produce an expansive report, Assessing Legal Responses to COVID-19, that includes critical analyses and recommendations from national experts convened to assess the U.S. policy response to the crisis to date. In this Q&A, the Network’s Corey Davis and Amy Lieberman discuss some of the key elements in the chapter they co-authored for the report examining the impact of the pandemic on those who want to start or continue opioid agonist treatment with the medications methadone and buprenorphine, which significantly improve health outcomes and reduce overdose and other deaths.
Legal arguments grounded in economic due process and the “right to work” can promote health equity by curtailing oppressive occupational licensing requirements. While occupational licensing is meant to protect the public, excessive regulation may heighten barriers to entry, limiting occupational choice, income, health insurance, and other options for individuals unable to meet restrictive standards. However, “right to work” arguments, which have increased during the pandemic, can also invalidate closures and other emergency measures in response to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the inequities facing households without broadband, and has highlighted the need to prepare for the future by ensuring home broadband is available to all individuals so that everyone can participate in education, healthcare, the job market and society. New FCC regulations will require the gathering of additional data on broadband access in the U.S. to help guide funding priorities for rural infrastructure in areas that were previously overlooked, particularly on Tribal lands. However, there is still much work to be done to reverse the years of exclusionary infrastructure deployment, and provide equitable service, at affordable prices, to all communities.
Civic engagement can be defined in various ways, but usually includes voting, volunteering and membership in community groups like neighborhood associations or recreational sports. Civic engagement, especially early in life, is associated with increased social capital, enhanced social network, greater wealth and educational achievement later in life, and overall better physical and mental health. Civic engagement also encourages community involvement in policy and decision-making, which can be used as one strategy to achieve health equity. This guide provides an at-a-glance overview of key law and policy measures to facilitate increased civic engagement in communities.
There are many ways in which politics, and therefore advocacy, are relevant to effectively assuring the public’s health, ranging from seeking adequate funding for local health services to answering questions from community members about proposed ballot measures affecting health. This fact sheet describes Michigan state laws and regulations that govern public bodies and employees with regard to lobbying of state government officials; public employees’ participation in political activities; and use of public funds for political activities.
While most data sharing and integration occurs within a legal and governance framework, an emphasis on racial equity, transparency, and community engagement is often peripheral. Attend this webinar for a review of “Work in Action” sites featured in the Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration as places where agencies are proactively centering racial equity during administrative data reuse.
This webinar, hosted by All In, will address questions that arise with regard to data sharing and racial equity, including what we mean when we talk about racial equity and how racial equity and inclusion show up in multi-sector community collaboration and data sharing work. Led by Shavon Arline-Bradley, Founding Principal of R.E.A.C.H. Beyond Solutions, LLC, the webinar will include a training to help guide participants toward understanding what racial equity is and help them feel more confident in their efforts to address racial inequity.
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.
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