Network Report

12/22/16

Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Public Health and the Judiciary: Sobriety Courts

Alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes are responsible for roughly one third of all U.S. crash fatalities. Individuals arrested for alcohol-impaired driving violations are likely to become repeat offenders. Specialized DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence) courts can help address the root causes of recidivism and have been shown to reduce general recidivism by as much as 50-60 percent in some cases.

November/December Public Health Law News Roundup

Some of the public health law stories that made news headlines recently include the Twenty-First Century CURES Act, Ohio’s Tobacco 21 law, FDA warnings to tobacco manufacturers on flavored cigarettes, and voter response to proposed marijuana laws and soda tax propositions in several states.

Public Health Legal Resources

Issue Brief: Legal Tools to Support Environmental Justice

Low income, tribal, and minority populations are often disproportionately impacted by environmental factors that negatively impact health, like air pollution and lead contamination. Laws and policies can serve as tools to support environmental justice. This issue brief outlines existing and potential legal tools to mitigate or eliminate these exposures.

Ask the Experts

Preemption and Restricting the Sale of Tobacco to Minors

A local health department recently asked the Network for guidance on whether state law would preempt a local ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco products to minors. In general, the State has the authority to preempt local laws, but this does not mean that counties cannot regulate in an area just because the State has enacted a law on that issue.

Upcoming Webinars

Integrating Health Impact Assessments Via Environmental Policy Acts

Health impact assessments (HIAs) gather science, health expertise, and public input to determine how a proposed policy, program or action might impact the public’s health and can serve as critical sources of information for decisions makers. This webinar examines how HIAs and related health impacts may “legally fit” with environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related state environmental policy acts (SEPAs). The webinar takes place on Thursday, January 19 from 1pm – 2:30pm ET.

Featured Journal Article

Civil Rights Tools to Advance Health in the Twenty- First Century

This article in the Annual Review of Public Health describes how civil rights laws, and their implementation and enforcement, help to improve health in the United States. Issues discussed include antidiscrimination laws and how they address health disparities, and the role of law in the health, health care, and other sectors in addressing inequities. The article was co-authored by Jane Perkins, a senior attorney at the Network’s Southeastern Region office.

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