Network Repot


Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Minnesota’s Measles Outbreak and What the State Can Do about Vaccine Waivers

Minnesota is currently experiencing its worst measles outbreak in over 30 years. The outbreak is concentrated within the state’s Somali immigrant community, where misinformation from the anti-vaccination movement has kept parents from vaccinating their children.  Minnesota’s immunization law allows for elective exemptions where a child's parent or guardian can request exemption, based on their beliefs, from one or more immunization requirements.


Fact Sheet: Overdose Reporting Requirements

Most of the overdose deaths that occur in the U.S. are due in whole or part to opioids— both prescription painkillers and illicit drugs like heroin. Recently, powerful synthetic versions of the drug fentanyl have begun to infiltrate the illicit drug market, driving a significant increase in overdose deaths. Unfortunately, variations in the way jurisdictions determine and report causes of death along with delays in obtaining and reporting fatality data results in an incomplete and out-of-date view of this growing epidemic. As powerful synthetic opioids become more available, it is imperative that health departments and other relevant actors are provided with accurate, timely and actionable information on both fatal and non-fatal overdose. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of current and proposed laws, regulations and sub-regulatory sources governing mandatory disease reporting.


Congressional Action on Health Care and the Restructuring of Medicaid

Congress is considering many changes to how the health care system currently operates, including repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and dramatically restructuring Medicaid, the largest public health program for low-income individuals and families. Over 74 million individuals depend on Medicaid for their health care and more than 12 million have received coverage through the ACA’s marketplaces. Join us on Thursday, June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (ET) to learn about the latest updates on the efforts in Congress and what could to happen to the ACA and Medicaid.

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Student Immunization Records and Health Data Privacy Laws

A healthcare administrator recently contacted the Network for resources on the applicability and requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in relation to the sharing of students’ immunization information. Information about a student’s immunization status can be important to public health (particularly during disease outbreaks), but privacy requirements must be observed. The Network provided the requestor with several resources outlining privacy requirements with regard to immunization records.  

Case Study: Regulating Menthol-Flavored Tobacco

Leading From Up North

The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium at the Public Health Law Center recently released a case study, Leading From Up North, that explores Canada’s experiences in outlawing menthol-flavored tobacco products. Although Canada and the U.S. have different demographics and government structures, both nations share a common concern about the disproportionate health impact of menthol tobacco products on targeted populations. Many U.S. states and localities today are wrestling with the best ways to address the problem of menthol tobacco use. This case study tells the story of how Canada became a global leader in tackling the problem of regulating menthol tobacco.

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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.