Nearly 40 percent of Americans do not have access to paid sick days, making it difficult for them to miss work when they are ill or have a doctor’s appointment. Those who do stay home suffer lost wages or risk losing their job. Those who choose to work while sick often risk exposing co-workers and others to illnesses. Paid sick leave allows employees who are sick to stay home or seek preventive care without the negative consequences. Join the Network for a webinar in which presenters examine the need for paid sick days, review current laws, and explore the public health implications. The webinar will take place on Thursday, February 21 from 1 – 2 p.m. (ET); registration deadline Tuesday, February 19. Details and how to register here.
After the webinar, join us for an online discussion about access to paid sick leave with the Network’s LinkedIn Group. Andy Baker-White, webinar moderator and Associate Director of the Network’s Mid-States Region, will be answering questions and facilitating the discussion. Share your thoughts on paid sick leave and its health implications for Americans.
New approaches to public health challenges often address unsafe and unhealthy products and behaviors through some form of intervention be it regulation, prohibition, taxation and/or education. This approach focuses more on positive social engineering to create a healthier community. The old role of public health focused more on preventing injuries or epidemics and other negative aspects and less on improving the public’s overall well-being. The differences in new and old public health were expressed in Kentucky, where an appellate court determined that the Bullit County Board of Health had the authority to adopt regulations prohibiting smoking in public spaces. Andy Baker-White, Associate Director of the Network’s Mid-State’s Region, examines this case, and the ongoing battle between new and old methods of public health. Read more.
Underage drinking contributes to a number of public health challenges, including the risk of vehicle-related injury to teenage drivers, and teen pregnancy. An emerging strategy for preventing underage drinking is to intervene where most underage drinking occurs: at home. Social host ordinances vary greatly, but generally hold homeowners responsible for underage drinking activity that occurs under their own roof. Jill Krueger, Senior Staff Attorney at the Network’s Northern Region, explores this issue and how social host ordinances can help reduce instances of underage drinking. Read more.
Hydraulic Fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial method for extracting natural gas. Proponents of fracking emphasize its ability to produce clean, natural energy, while boosting local economy. Opponents fear the unknown health effects of fracking. Laws governing fracking vary by state. Two new fact sheets prepared by the Network’s Eastern Region attorneys summarize the laws in states above the Marcellus Shale, in the Eastern U.S. and federal regulations and regulatory gaps in oil and gas extraction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52,000 Americans die and 275,000 are treated annually as a consequence of traumatic brain injuries, including concussions. Approximately 173,000 of those concussions are related to youth sports. Many states have passed laws to prevent the long-term impact of concussions on young athletes. Some laws require special training for parents, coaches and youth, while others only allow players to return to the game after clearance from a licensed health care professional. Two newly updated fact sheets summarize states’ current youth concussion laws.
Recently the Network received a request on the varied implications that declarations of a public health emergency may have on regulations in different states and localities. The requestor asked in specific reference to a difference he observed in the regulations surrounding vaccines in an emergency in different states.
The Network responded by informing the requestor that the effects of an emergency declaration can vary greatly among different states and localities. The types of public health powers and waivers of authority that are authorized by an emergency declaration depend not only on the declaration itself, but also how specific issues are addressed via real-time policies and procedures. For example, some emergency declarations allow for waiver of key laws, but require explicit executive orders to effectuate such waivers. Read More.
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Andy Baker-White, J.D., M.P.H., is associate director of the Network’s Mid-States Region. Andy practiced law at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass in eastern Kentucky for five and a half years where he provided civil legal representation to victims of domestic violence, tenants in federal housing and residents of long-term care facilities. He also provided training and education on domestic violence and federal housing law as well as the education rights of homeless children. In 2006 he moved to Washington state, where he practiced Medicaid law before enrolling at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. Read more about Andy.
Andy will be moderating the February 21 webinar exploring the laws and public health impact of access to paid sick leave, as well as the subsequent LinkedIn group discussion about the topic. More information about the webinar here.
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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.