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November 2012 - CDC Public Health Law News

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National Native American Heritage Month

Thursday, November 15, 2012

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

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  1. Public Health Law Program Issue Briefs. CDC’s Public Health Law Program (PHLP) is proud to announce the new PHLP Issue Briefs page. PHLP Issue Briefs are short papers summarizing research of laws that impact public health in the state, tribal, local, and territorial communities. Each issue brief is prepared by PHLP attorneys, who are available to provide technical assistance on specific legal topics. Find more information and read PHLP Issue Briefs.
  2. November 2012 is National Native American Heritage Month. On November 1, 2012, President Obama proclaimed November 2012 as National Native American Heritage Month and November 23, 2012 as Native American Heritage Day. The president called upon all Americans “to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities.” Read the Presidential Proclamation and find more information about National Native American Heritage Month.
  3. Joint J.D./M.P.H. degree to be offered through the University of Nebraska. Beginning in fall 2012 the University of Nebraska will begin offering a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health. Learn more about the University of Nebraska’s dual degree program.
  4. Journal article on graduated licensing decal law. A study released October 23, 2012 by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine conducted by Allison E. Curry and a team of researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that the New Jersey Law requiring drivers to display a red decal on their license plate has helped police officers enforce regulations unique to new drivers and prevented more than 1,600 crashes. Find more information and read the article [PDF - 168KB].
  5. Call for Nominations: Foundations of Health Law. The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME) and the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law, Medicine & Health Care seeks nominations of foundational works of scholarship in health law, very broadly defined, published in English before December 31, 2010. ASLME intends to publish an edited volume in an academic press. Nominations must be accompanied by a brief description, not to exceed 300 words, of the importance of the scholarly work, addressed to: Ted Hutchinson, Executive Director, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 765 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02445. first round of nominations will close on December 31, 2012. Find more information about the call for nominations.

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Legal Tools

  1. The Network for Public Health Law has released Emergency Legal Response for Superstorm Sandy. The response tool catalogues federal and state disaster response documents related to Hurricane Sandy. Learn more about the Network’s Emergency Legal Response Superstorm Sandy resources. Find more emergency preparedness resources at the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Clearinghouse.

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Top Stories

  1. Minnesota: Decline in incidence of heart attacks appears associated with smoke-free workplace laws

    Science Daily (10/29/2012)

    Olmsted County, Minnesota passed a smoke-free restaurant ordinance in 2002 and in 2007 the county passed a smoke-free workplace ordinance. During the 18-month periods preceding the smoke-free restaurant ordinance was passed and immediately following the passage of the smoke-free workplace ordinance, Richard D. Hurt, M.D. and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, tracked the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI), and sudden cardiac death (SCD) in Olmsted County.

    The study, “Myocardial Infarction and Sudden Cardiac Death in Olmstead County, Minnesota, Before and After Smoke-free Workplace Laws,” cites the Surgeon General’s findings that secondhand smoke (SHS) is related to several adverse cardiopulmonary issues and illnesses.

    The Olmstead study found that the incidence of MI declined by 33 percent and the incidence of SCD declined by 17 percent when comparing the 18 months before the smoke-free restaurant ordinance was passed and the 18 months after the smoke-free workplace ordinance.

    “We report a substantial decline in the incidence of MI from 18 months before the smoke-free restaurant law was implemented to the 18 months after the comprehensive smoke-free workplace law was implemented five years later,” the study’s authors commented.

    The study’s findings lead the authors to conclude that “[a]ll people should avoid SHS exposure as much as possible and those with [coronary heart disease] should have no exposure to SHS.”

    [Editor’s note: Find more information about Olmstead County, Minnesota’s smoke-free ordinances, the study (subscription may be required), and the Surgeon General’s 2006 report on SHS.]

  2. West Virginia: Suit challenging state’s vaccine rule is dismissed

    Register-Herald (10/18/2012) Pam Ramsey

    On Wednesday, October 17, 2012 Kanawha County, West Virginia, Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) vaccine requirements for school children. Judge Kaufman held that the immunization requirements are within the legislature’s limits on interpretive rules and consistent with state code.

    The state code requires immunizations against diphtheria, polio, rubeola (measles), tetanus, and pertussis (whopping cough). In addition to the vaccines required by the West Virginia legislature, DHHR also requires students entering school for the first time be vaccinated for hepatitis B, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chicken pox).

    “The crux of our argument, the basis for our complaint is that DHHR did not follow the legislative procedures that are required by statute,” said Patrick Lane, attorney for those challenging the vaccine requirements. The lawsuit further argued that DHHR cannot require additional vaccinations without legislative approval.

    Judge Kaufman noted that the vaccines required by DHHR are those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of experts selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    The judge further disagreed with plaintiffs’ argument, holding that DHHR had authority to require additional vaccines. “The rule is entitled to substantial deference as it represents the best judgment of a national group with undoubted expertise and experience whose judgments are vetted before the public,” said Judge Kaufman.

    [Editor’s note: Find more information about West Virginia’s DHHR immunization program and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.]

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Briefly Noted

  1. California: L.A. County votes for mandatory condom use in adult films
    L.A. County voters mandate condom use on porn sets
    Mercury News (11/07/2012)
  2. Nebraska: Fetal death law invoked in wrongful death car accident suit
    Neb. crash lawsuit invokes fetal death law
    San Francisco Gate (11/04/2012) Grant Schulte
    [Editor’s note: Read the Nebraska code on wrongful death, Neb. Rev. Stat. §30-809 (2003).]
  3. New York: Health Department authorizes ‘surge-capacity plans’ in storm’s wake
    Bellevue Hospital evacuates patients after backup power fails
    New York Times (10/31/2012) Nina Bernstein and Anemona Hartocollis
  4. Washington: Tacoma Housing Authority passes no-smoking resolution
    Smoke-free public housing good for health, safety and costs
    News Tribune (11/05/2012)
    [Editor’s note: Find more information and read the resolution [PDF - 81KB].]
  5. National: Environmental toxins, asbestos, may be in Hurricane Sandy wreckage
    Asbestos may pose health hazards in Hurricane Sandy’s wake
    Huffington Post (11/05/2012) Lynne Peeples
  6. National: New dense breast tissue laws leave patients and providers agitated
    New laws add a divisive component to breast screening
    New York Times (10/24/2012) Denise Grady
  7. National: Medtronic under scrutiny for editing spine treatment studies
    Panel says Medtronic edited product studies
    New York Times (10/25/2012) Barry Meier
  8. International: Spain halts flu vaccine sales due to particles in some injections
    Spain regulator halts sale of some Novartis flu vaccines
    Reuters (10/25/2012) Clare Kane

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Court Opinions

  1. Connecticut: Dram Shop Act requires proof of visible intoxication
    O’Dell v. Kozee
    Supreme Court of Connecticut
    Case No. SC 18851
    Filed 10/28/2012
    Opinion by Justice Lubbie Harper, Jr.
  2. Kansas: Police officer may deliver notice of license suspension to outgoing office mail
    Byrd v. Kansas Department of Revenue [PDF - 80KB]
    Supreme Court of Kansas
    Case No. 101.189
    Filed 10/26/2012
    Opinion by Justice Marla J. Luckert
  3. Kentucky: Reflective warning sign for slow vehicles passes rational basis review
    Gingerich v. Commonwealth of Kentucky
    Supreme Court of Kentucky
    Case Nos. 2011-SC-000379-DGE [PDF - 333KB], 2011-SC-000380-DGE [PDF -315KB]
    Decided 10/25/2012
    Opinion by Justice Mary C. Noble
  4. Maryland: Transit authority sovereign immunity only for governmental functions
    Tinsley v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority [PDF - 68KB]
    Court of Appeals of Maryland
    Case Nos. 1, September Term, 2012, 25, September Term, 2012
    Filed 10/26/2012
    Opinion by Judge Lynne A. Battaglia
  5. New Jersey: Supreme Court says surrogacy question for state legislature
    In the Matter of the Parentage of a Child by T.J.S. and A.L.S., h/w [PDF - 94KB]
    Supreme Court of New Jersey
    Case No. (A-130-10) (067805)
    Decided 10/24/2012
    Opinion by Justice Helen E. Hoens
  6. Federal: Immigration status waiver for contagious infections at AG’s discretion
    Berlus v. Napolitano [PDF - 94KB]
    United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit
    Case No. 10-1008
    Filed 10/26/2012
    Opinion by Judge Kent A. Jordan

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Quotation of the Month: Patrick Lane, plaintiffs’ attorney in West Virginia vaccination challenge

“In every one of those cases, the circuit judges recognized that the child does have a fundamental right to an education and that education must be provided irrespective of the vaccinations. Clearly, the counties are going to have to pay for homebound instruction,” said attorney Patrick Lane of the recent dismissal of his clients’ suit challenging West Virginia’s Department of Heath and Human Resources vaccine requirements.

About Public Health Law News

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.

The News is published by the CDC Public Health Law Program in the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support.


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News content is selected solely on the basis of newsworthiness and potential interest to readers. CDC and HHS 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 HHS. 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 HHS. References to products, trade names, publications, news sources, and non-CDC Web sites are provided solely for informational purposes and do not imply endorsement by CDC or HHS. 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 HHS. 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.

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