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Source and Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

RPF Oil Company v. Genesee County


RPF Oil Company v. Genesee County (Michigan Court of Appeals, Dec. 3, 2019): The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the state’s Age of Majority law, establishing that an individual age 18 is entitled to all rights, privileges, and responsibilities not otherwise excluded by statute or the constitution, preempted localities from prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to those under the age of 21. Under Michigan law, a local jurisdiction derives its powers from the state, which are to be liberally construed. Local law is preempted by state law, however, if it conflicts with the state law. If a state law imposes certain restrictions or prohibitions, a local law that enhances or extends those prohibitions is not in conflict and is thus not preempted. However, if a state law affords certain rights or privileges, local laws that interfere with or limit those rights or privileges are preempted. Since the Age of Majority law provides for rights to those 18 and older, a county law restricting access to tobacco for those 18-20 years old is preempted by state law. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – January 15, 2020.

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