Network Report



Webinar: License Plate Decals for New Drivers — A Case Study

For decades, many developed countries have required novice drivers to display identifiers (or decals) on the outside of their vehicles so that law enforcement and other drivers know that learner or novice drivers are behind the wheel. In May 2010, New Jersey implemented the first such requirement in the U.S. as part of its Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program in order to reduce crash rates among teens. Our March webinar will examine the history and rationale behind the use of identifiers, New Jersey’s implementation of the new driver decal requirement, and the results of a published study on the effect of the decal requirement. Get details and register here.

Public Health Law Legislative Roundup

The 2013 legislative season is well underway and state legislatures across the country are considering changes and additions to the law that would impact public health. Topics under consideration include statewide smoking bans, harm reduction measures, board of health authority, and many other public health issues. Andy Baker-White, staff attorney at the Network’s Mid-States Region, provides an overview of bills introduced so far. Read more.

The Sequester and Public Health

The $1.2 trillion in tax and government spending cuts known as the sequester took effect on March 1. Under the sequester, about $2.4 billion would be cut from public health programs in 2013 alone, including $545 million from the CDC. In late February, Network attorney Corey Davis examined how the cuts could impact public health. Read more.

Study Shows Impact of Flu Vaccination Mandates in Hospitals

Hospitals with flu vaccination mandates for health care workers that include consequences for noncompliance saw greater increases in vaccination rates than hospitals that had mandates without consequences or no mandates at all, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Infection Control. The study, conducted by Mary Patricia Nowalk, Ph.D., R.D. and Richard Zimmerman, M.D., M.P.H. and their colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, offers insight into the impact hospital policies and state laws have on health care worker vaccination rates. Read more.

Ask the Experts:

Medical Marijuana Laws

Recently the Network received a request for assistance from a policymaker who asked for information on medical marijuana laws across the country. The Network responded with several resources, including:

  • Research from the National Conference of State Legislatures on:

A Network resource which provides key information about medical marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical marijuana use. A link to additional information from the April 2012 conference Balancing Science and Politics: The Challenges of Implementing Medical Marijuana Laws, which was co-sponsored by the Network for Public Health Law, the Law and Health Care Program  at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

Contact the Network to get legal assistance.

Opportunities in Public Health Law

The Public Health Law Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks to hire attorneys for full-time paid fellowships that will run through September 2013. The Fellows will learn about and conduct applied research on laws relating to critical public health issues, including legal issues around the CDC’s “Winnable Battles” and other high priority areas. Learn more about this opportunity here.

Ethics Workshop: Practical Tools for Health Professionals

On February 14, the Network hosted a workshop that provided public health professionals with tools and practical examples to address ethical challenges that commonly arise in the practice of public health. The workshop featured the lecture “Introduction to Public Health Ethics and the Process of Ethical Analysis,” by Ruth Mickelson, J.D., M.P.H., Instructor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health; and Sarah Gollust, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, which examined ethics as a pragmatic and practical tool for decision making. Video of the lecture is available here.

Network People

Clifford M. Rees, J.D., is Practice Director at the Network’s Western Region. Cliff worked as staff attorney for the New Mexico State Agency on Aging; the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH); the New Mexico Department of Public Safety; and as general counsel of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration in 25 years of government service. During his 23 years with the NMDOH, he specialized in the areas of behavioral health; drug policy reform; public health; emergency medical services; emergency preparedness; public procurement; and the legislative process. Read more.

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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.