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Thursday, July 21, 2011

From the Public Health Law Program,
Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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In honor of our nation's 235th birthday, we are running a special edition of the CDC Public Health Law News. Public health law touches all people and all places. While every jurisdiction has unique public health law challenges, many public health law issues cross state lines, county lines, lines of race, and lines of perception. With these differences and similarities, in mind we feature public health law news stories from every state in the Union and sincerely hope you enjoy reading The Fifty Nifty.


The Fifty Nifty United States
This Month's Feature
Profiles in Public Health Law: Denise Chrysler, Director, Mid-States Regional Center, Public Health Law Network


***IOM Report on Revitalizing Law and Policy for Public Health. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the report For the Public's Health: Revitalizing Law and Policy to Meet New Challenges on June 21, 2011. In the report, the IOM examines the legal and regulatory authority for public health activities, identifies past efforts to develop model public health legislation, and describes the implications of the changing social and policy context for public health laws and regulations. For more information, visit

***FDA Graphic Cigarette Warnings. On June 21, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled nine graphic health warnings for cigarette packs and advertisements. Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, all cigarettes manufactured for sale or distribution in the United States will need to include the new graphic health warnings on their packages beginning in September 2012. For more information, visit

***Job Opening: The American Public Health Association (APHA) is looking for a dynamic public health lawyer who has worked at the state or local level to serve as Project Director for the new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Public Health Association Legal Project. The project aims to increase collaboration among the APHA, the Association for State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officers (NACCHO), and the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) around public health law issues and increase the use of public health law as a tool for public health by public health practitioners. Applications are due by July 31, 2011. For more information, visit

***Job Opening: Public Health Law & Policy is seeking an attorney with demonstrated experience in housing law and policy to launch a new line of work on improving the housing stock and ensuring safe and healthy housing in low-income communities throughout the nation. Applications are due July18, 2011. For more information visit,

***Job Opening: The University of Michigan School of Public Health seeks to hire an experienced attorney as a Public Health Attorney for the Mid-States Regional Center of the Public Health Law Network. The Public Health Attorney will assist the Mid-States Regional Center in efforts to strengthen the ability of public health practitioners, counsel, and other stakeholders to use law efficiently and effectively to protect and promote the public's health. Applications are due August 12, 2011. For more information visit,

The Fifty Nifty United States

  1. Alabama: Workers from BP oil spill sue for illness allegedly caused by clean-up chemical
    "Gulf oil spill cleanup workers report medical problems; lawsuit filed"
    Montgomery Adviser (06/26/2011) Mary Sell|topnews|text|Frontpage
  2. Alaska: New law snuffs out synthetic cannabinoids
    "Alaska governor signs bill banning synthetic cannabinoids"
    Dailey News Miner (06/26/2011)
  3. Arizona: Consumers and public safety officials struggle with Arizona's new fireworks law
    "Arizona fireworks law's effect not yet clear"
    Arizona Republic (07/06/2011) Craig Harris and Jim Walsh
  4. Arkansas: State Police "Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine" campaign against speeding
    "Law officers to begin speed enforcement campaign"
    Arkansas News (07/05/2011)

  5. California: New law requires carbon monoxide alarms in a variety of buildings
    "Carbon monoxide alarm laws take effect July 1"
    Bay Citizen (06/17/2011) John Upton

  6. Colorado: Laws protecting tow truck drives and others took effect July 1
    "Some new Colorado laws that take effect today"
    Denver Post (07/01/2011) Tim Hoover

  7. Connecticut: Cigarette taxes rise 40 cents a pack
    New Laws, New taxes take effect July 1
    Manchester Patch (06/30/2011) Cathryn J. Prince

  8. Delaware: Law bans trans fats from school vending machines and cafeterias
    "Delaware bans trans fats in schools"
    Vending Times (07/05/2011) Emily Jed

  9. Florida: New law requires some clinics to post price but law's application unclear
    "Some Florida urgent-care clinics will be required to post prices for common procedures"
    St. Petersburg Times (06/27/2011) Richard Martin

  10. Georgia: New law mandates children under 8 years or 4' 9" ride in booster seat
    "Child seat laws to change July 1"
    Walton Tribune (06/22/2011) Robbie Schwartz

  11. Hawaii: Law banning shark fin products takes a bite out of sales
    "Hawaii's shark fin product ban takes effect July 1"
    Maui News (06/28/2011) Carla Tracy

  12. Idaho: More families eligible under new WIC guidelines
    "More Idahoans will be eligible for federal food assistance in July"
    Magic Valley (06/23/2011)

  13. Illinois: Drivers and passengers must wear seat-belts under new law
    "Quinn signs seat-belt measure into law"
    Quad-City times (06/27/2011)

  14. Indiana: New law allows alcohol sales sans ID to those appearing to be over age 40
    "More than 230 new Indiana laws take effect on July 1"
    Courier Press (06/21/2011) Rick Iorio

  15. Iowa: Legislature lowers legal blood alcohol limit for boaters, mirrors that for automobiles
    "Alcohol limit for operating a boat to go up on July 1"
    Radio Iowa (06/22/2011) Pat Curtis

  16. Kansas: 12 people may now be cared for in "Home Plus" elderly facility, up from eight
    "89 new laws take effect Friday" (06/29/2011)

  17. Kentucky: Residents describe "war zone" like conditions with new fireworks law
    "Residents shooting off large fireworks now legal" (07/05/2011) Valerie Chinn

  18. Louisiana: U.S. Supreme Court upholds LA's $240 Mill. smoking cessation program
    "U.S. Supreme Court keeps Louisiana's $240 million smoking cessation program" (06/27/2011) Bruce Alpert

  19. Maine: State phasing out subsidized health care program
    "Maine law phases out subsidized health care program"
    Business Insurance (06/23/2011) Jerry Geisel

  20. Maryland: "Buy local" food law takes effect
    "New state food laws go into effect this week" (06/29/2011) Jane Bellmyer

  21. Massachusetts: 30 state pools closed after drowned body left in pool for three days
    "Body apparently was in state pool 3 days" (06/30/2011) Travis Andersen

  22. Michigan: Sex offenders must now register more information with the state
    "MI sex offender registration rules changing" (06/29/2011)

  23. Minnesota: Some DWI first time offenders required to use ignition interlock device
    "Minnesota's new DWI law takes effect Friday"
    Richfield Patch (06/27/2011) Katelynn Metz

  24. Mississippi: Great emphasis on "none for nine" alcohol during pregnancy policy
    "Officials: Alcohol a danger for fetus"
    Hattiesburg American (07/04/2011) Ellen Ciurczak

  25. Missouri: Four-foot shoulders to be added to bike lanes on some Missouri roads
    "Missouri to add $2M bike lanes on busy Columbia highway"
    News Tribune (07/06/2011)

  26. Montana: New law attempts to stop people from doctor shopping for pain killers
    "Montana's new prescription drug law starts Friday"
    KAJ18 (06/29/2011) Steve Bullock

  27. Nebraska: New laws mandate harsher penalties for DUI offenders
    "Nebraska adopting new drunk driving laws"
    Fremont Tribune (06/23/2011) Dave Hineman

  28. Nevada: State mandates drivers put the phone down and drive
    "Nevada cell phone while driving law takes effect Oct. 1"
    North Lake Tahoe Bonanza (07/05/2011)

  29. New Hampshire: Bars and restaurants may now advertise drink specials
    "Happiness on a budget: a new law allows bars to advertise happy hour specials"
    Wire (07/06/2011) Matt Kanner and Chloe Johnson

  30. New Jersey: Meth-like bath salts ban among laws headed to New Jersey governor
    Action in Trenton: 'Sexting bill, bath salt crack down, DNA Testing, June primary date" (06/30/2011)

  31. New Mexico : State Supreme Court allows suit against tribal casino under "dram shop" law
    "NM court Oks damage lawsuit against tribal casino"
    Forbes (06/29/2011) Barry Massey

  32. New York: New York one of 20 states requiring motorcyclist to wear helmets
    "New York rider dies protesting motorcycle helmet law"
    ABC News (07/04/2011) Alyssa Newcomb

  33. North Carolina: New law specifies rules and reporting for healthcare-associated infections
    "Hospira applauds North Carolina's new legislation aimed at reducing healthcare-associated infections"
    MSN Money (06/29/2011)

  34. North Dakota: Petition to allow flood victims to temporarily live in low-income housing
    "Dalrymple seeks special housing waiver"
    Bismarck Tribune (07/01/2011)

  35. Ohio: Statewide database for prescription drugs among new laws signed by governor
    "Governor Kasich has signed more than 27 bills into law"
    Dayton Daily (07/02/2011) Laura A. Bichoff

  36. Oklahoma: Oklahoma's new boating law does not require instruction for teen boaters
    "Safety advocates say Oklahoma boating law doesn't go far enough"
    NewsOn6 (07/05/2011) Havonnah Johnson

  37. Oregon: Pharmacists may check patient records for signs of overdosing
    "Oregon's prescription tracking program monitors your meds"
    Oregon Live (07/04/2011) Nick Budnick

  38. Pennsylvania: Laser pointers on beaches distraction to planes, officials seek to ban
    "Ocean City: Laser danger points to ban" (06/26/2011) Jacqueline L. Urgo

  39. Rhode Island: Adoptees' right to birth records after age 25 among laws passed
    "RI General Assembly wraps up with burst of activity" (07/02/2011) Rhilip Marcelo, Katherine Gregg and Randal Edgar

  40. South Carolina: State Forestry Commission prosecuting more illegal burning
    "SCFC cracks down on burning from land, sky
    WMBF News (07/06/2011) Meghan Miller

  41. South Dakota: Counties struggle to maintain roads, license plate fees raised
    "More expensive car registration among laws taking effect July 1"
    Rapid City News (06/26/2011) David Montgomery

  42. Tennessee: New law allows mothers to breastfeed children over 12 months old in public
    "Scoffing at new laws in Tennessee will pay a price"
    Commercial Appeal (06/30/2011) Richard Locker

  43. Texas: "Romeo and Juliet" sex offender registry exception
    "Almost 1,500 new laws are taking effect in Texas"
    Star-Telegram (07/05/2011) Anna M. Tinsley

  44. Utah: State sued over allegedly confusing liquor laws
    "Lawsuit filed state law banning daily drink specials"
    Daily Herald (07/03/2011) Josh Loftin

  45. Vermont: New DUI laws address National Transportation Safety Board's concerns
    "U.S. urges tougher DUI laws in Vermont"
    Burlington Free Press (07/05/2011) Mat Sutkoski|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

  46. Virginia: Harsher penalties for teens convicted of DUI
    "New Virginia traffic-related laws take effect July 1"
    Smith Mountain Eagle (07/05/2011)

  47. Washington: State passes first law requiring gamete donors to provide medical history
    "The birth of donor offspring rights in the USA?"
    Bio News (07/27/2011) Wendy Kramer and Professor Naomi Cahn

  48. West Virginia: Mandatory arbitration clauses invalid in nursing home patients' suits
    "Nursing homes can't use arbitration"
    Register Herald (07/01/2011)

  49. Wisconsin: Barbers no longer required to take continuing education for sanitation
    "State barber, cosmetology board drops requirement"
    LaCrosse Tribune (06/27/2011)

  50. Wyoming: New law mandates blood alcohol tests for suspected DUI
    "Several new laws take effect Friday in Wyoming"
    Star-Tribune (07/01/2011) Jeremy Pelzer

  51. District of Columbia: MetroAccess driver drove with TB, exposed riders file suit
    "MetroAccess riders exposed to tuberculosis sue transit agency"
    Washington Examiner (06/27/2011) Kytja Weir

  52. National: Federal Court of Appeals for the 6th District upholds Affordable Care Act
    "6th District upholds health care law"
    Dayton Daily (06/29/2011) Jack Torry

__________________THIS MONTH'S FEATURE___________________

Profiles in Public Health Law: Denise Chrysler

Title: Director, Mid-States Regional Center, Public Health Law Network

Organization: University of Michigan School of Public Health

Education: J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1980

CDC Public Health Law News: What was your route to public health law?

I became a public health lawyer by chance. I joined the Michigan Attorney General's staff in 1983. On my first day of work, the Attorney General told me that I would be assigned to represent the state health department. What a stroke of luck – I managed to spend my entire 20 years as an Assistant Attorney General representing public health programs. In 2003, I left the Attorney General's office to join my client agency, the Michigan Department of Community Health, first serving as Director of the Office of Legal Affairs and then as Public Health Legal Director in the Department's public health administration. I also served for five years as the Department's Privacy Officer. In September 2010, I was part of the Public Health Law Network (Network) launch. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Network promotes and supports the use of law to protect public health. It is organized into a national coordinating center and five regional centers that serve assigned states and provide leadership to the network for specific specialty areas. After 29 ½ years, I left state government to become Director of the Network's Mid-States Regional Center, located at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. (This is my dream job!)

CDC Public Health Law News: Throughout your varied career, you have been something of a pioneer in public health law. How have you seen the field grow and change?

When I started my legal career, I was an "attorney." No one referred to himself or herself as a "public health attorney" or as a specialist in "public health law." I think that the CDC Public Health Law Program and the Public Health Law Association were pivotal in my transition into a "public health attorney" around 2004. These two organizations helped to create a community of public health lawyers with zeal for their mission of using the law to improve public health. In 2007, I made another transition, becoming a member of my department's "public health team." This occurred because my department recognized the importance of law to improving public health. My department included me in many workgroups, trainings, and program and assessment activities to bring a legal perspective to public health policy development.

CDC Public Health Law News: How is your work with the Public Health Law Network different from past work experiences?

I still assist public health practitioners to understand their legal authority and their options for protecting and promoting public health. I answer questions from public health departments, attorneys, and the general public. However, in the past, generally I needed to understand public health law and governmental structure for only one state (Michigan). I now work with questions that involve the nine states in the Network's Mid-States Region: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I appreciate the community of public health attorneys that I can call about practice in our assigned states. The biggest difference is that I no longer provide legal counsel and representation to a client agency and must use care to avoid giving legal advice. I work to support, not supplant, attorney-client relationships. Since my understanding of the law might vary from a practitioner's attorney, my favorite saying is: "If reasonable minds always agree, we would have no need for attorneys."

CDC Public Health Law News: Please describe a typical workday.

The Public Health Law Network promotes and supports the use of law to improve public health. To do this, we serve public health officials, practitioners, attorneys, policymakers, and advocates in three ways:

  1. Through direct technical assistance, we provide research and answers to help our target audiences understand and apply the law.
  2. Through training, materials, and practical tools, we help educate our target audiences about the law and its application.
  3. Through connecting individuals with one other, we help build a public health law community and support networking and peer assistance.

While my workdays vary, I build them around these three areas. This includes outreach to individuals and organizations to tell them about the Network and services we provide, asking for their input on challenges they face and needs that we might address. Frequently, I draw upon the public health law community, connecting an individual or organization with an expert on a topic. I research and answer requests for technical assistance that we receive through the Network's website, email or telephone. I am always thinking about practical tools we might create to help practitioners, attorneys, and others understand or use the law. The Network's website [] has many such tools, including tools that I created. I make frequent presentations about the Network and on substantive legal issues. I serve on national and state boards and committees related to public health. I travel several days a month, attending conferences and meetings. Finally, I oversee the operation of the Mid-States Regional Center and management of our grant. In addition to me, we have three staff members: Associate Director and attorney Andy-Baker White, Administrative Assistant Marie Parker, and summer legal intern Kimberly Parks. We plan to hire an additional attorney in September.

CDC Public Health Law News: How is your background practicing law an asset in your position at the Public Health Law Network?

My experience practicing law has helped me in two ways. First, as an attorney for a state public health agency, I know first-hand many of the legal and practical issues faced by public health attorneys and practitioners and potential solutions to address these issues. Although I am now in an academic setting, I am not academic. Second, working closely with public health practitioners has helped me to read law broadly to achieve public health objectives. My tendency as an attorney would be to focus on the risk of acting (and potential litigation), advising restraint absent explicit authority. However, as part of a public health team, I came to see that there is also risk in not acting to protect the public. Remembering this risk (as well as Jacobson vs. Massachusetts) helps me through the uncertainty inherent in law.

CDC Public Health Law News: What projects are you currently most excited about?

I am working on legal issues related to the use of newborn screening dried blood specimens (DBS) for research. I had provided legal support for the Michigan BioTrust for Health, which is an initiative to make leftover newborn screening samples more useful and available for medical or public health research. I hope to use Michigan's experience to assist public health practitioners and attorneys in other states in developing policies to retain DBS and allow their use for research that benefits the public.

CDC Public Health Law News: Why are dried blood specimens such an important public health issue?

Blood specimens are collected from newborns under mandatory public health programs to screen for metabolic and other serious conditions. After screening is complete, leftover DBS are used in several states, including Michigan, for a variety of health research studies. Various biomarkers (e.g., DNA, RNA, and environmental contaminants) can be isolated and studied. The Michigan Department of Community Health's collection of DBS is comprised of entire birth cohorts dating back to 1984 allowing longitudinal linkages to other population-based data, such as the statewide cancer registry and vital records. For example, DBS for children who developed leukemia could be selected to search for genetic markers or a study could examine DBS to assess pollutants in the blood of newborns from 1984 to present. DBS can be a valuable resource for research. However, each state must resolve legal, ethical, and policy issues to allow research that benefits the community while respecting the individuals whose DBS might be used.

CDC Public Health Law News: If you were not working in public health law, what would you likely be doing?

I would work on urban gardening projects to encourage city dwellers to grow vegetables and fruit. I live on a small city lot with all land in cultivation with vegetables, raspberries, herbs, and flowers.

CDC Public Health Law News: Describe any personal information, hobbies, or interests you care to share.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Indiana. My garden demonstrates that you can take the farm girl off of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the farm girl. My husband, Paul Pratt, and I just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. (We met in law school). Paul's county job involves the management of rainwater and protecting it from pollution. Our landscaping is a "rainwater management system," with rain gardens, porous concrete, permeable pavers, and rain barrels. We attempt to retain all rainfall on our property and send it into the soil to filter pollutants, rather than into the storm sewer that leads to the river. We live in Lansing, Michigan, with our two cats Madison and Marbury.

CDC Public Health Law News: What are your favorite books and what have you read lately?

I love audio books – I listen to them on my I-pod while I garden. I just finished John Steinbeck's East of Eden – It was so good that I would find myself gardening for hours just to keep listening to my book. For nonfiction, I enjoyed and have twice listened to the audio edition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which goes to the heart of using tissue, newborn screening blood specimens, and data for research and balancing individual choice with improving the common good.

CDC Public Health Law News: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

When I became an attorney, I was proud to be a "public servant." I have had the good fortune to believe that my life's work has made people's lives better. I believe that government is essential to the public good and lament the current hostility toward government and its employees.

The CDC Public Health Law News is published the third Thursday of each month except holidays, plus special issues when warranted. It is distributed only in electronic form and is free of charge. News content is selected solely on the basis of newsworthiness and potential interest to readers. CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) assume no responsibility for the factual accuracy of the items presented from other sources. The selection, omission, or content of items does not imply any endorsement or other position taken by CDC or DHHS. Opinions expressed by the original authors of items included in the News, or persons quoted therein, are strictly their own and are in no way meant to represent the opinion or views of CDC or DHHS. References to products, trade names, publications, news sources, and non-CDC Websites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or DHHS. Legal cases are presented for educational purposes only, and are not meant to represent the current state of the law. The findings and conclusions reported in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of CDC or DHHS. The News is in the public domain and may be freely forwarded and reproduced without permission. The original news sources and the CDC Public Health Law News should be cited as sources. Readers should contact the cited news sources for the full text of the articles.
For past issues or to subscribe to the CDC Public Health Law News, visit For help with subscriptions or to make comments or suggestions, send an email to Lindsay Culp at
The News is published by the Public Health Law Program, Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Lindsay Culp, J.D., M.P.H., Editor; Abigail Ferrell, J.D., M.P.A., Writer.

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