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March 2013 - CDC Public Health Law News

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

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. Eleven Public Health Departments First to Achieve National Accreditation. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) awarded 5-year accreditation to 11 public health departments on February 28, 2013. The national program, jointly supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aims to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing the quality and performance of the nation’s state, tribal, local and territorial public health departments. Find more information about accreditation and the accredited public health departments [PDF - 253KB].

  2. Study finds public support for legal interventions to fight obesity, noncommunicable diseases. According to a new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study, the public is very supportive of government action aimed at changing lifestyle choices that can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases, but is less likely to support such interventions if they are viewed as intrusive or coercive. The study was co-authored by Stephanie Morain, a doctoral candidate in health policy at Harvard University, who lead the study, and Professor Michelle Mello, professor of law and public health in the HSPH Department of Health Policy and Management, appears in the March 2013 issue of Health Affairs. Find more information and read the study.

  3. Call for proposals for Excellence in State Public Health Law program. The Justice and Society Program, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has announced a new Excellence in State Public Health Law (ESPHL) program. The one-year ESPHL program will consist of up to eight teams of eight members each. Over the course of the year, each team will focus on exploring, identifying, and evaluating how law and policy can advance one of their respective state’s health priorities. The goal of the ESPHL program is to provide education and other resources that will enable policymakers and agencies to more effectively address public health issues and to become leaders in creating healthier states. The program will strengthen public health law collaborations among state officials and state-level policy-makers, and will increase these leaders’ effectiveness on public health issues in their respective states, including working across party lines and government agencies and branches. The first phase of applications is due April 16, 2013.Find more information and read the full call for proposals [PDF - 453KB].

  4. Lecture highlighting important role of boards of health. The 14th Annual Ned E. Baker Lecture, Leading the Way to Healthier Communities: How Leadership Can Strengthen Public Health, will take place on April 4 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm (ET) in Bowling Green, Ohio. Participants will explore the dynamic characteristics of leadership and learn how board of health members, public health professionals, elected officials, and community members can exhibit leadership that improves the health of communities. Find more information about the Ned E. Baker Lecture and be a part of the live, interactive webcast.

  5. Food law job opening at the UCLA School of Law. The UCLA School of Law is seeking a highly energetic, experienced individual to be the Executive Director of a newly established Program for the study and practice of food law and policy located at the UCLA School of Law. The Program is designed to bring world class policy analysis, research, and educational opportunities in food law and policy to UCLA Law School, the campus, the broader community of Southern California, the nation, and the world. Minimum requirements include an excellent academic record; a J.D., M.B.A., or equivalent advanced degree from a U.S. school; at least five years of successful food law and policy practice or experience; demonstrated management, administrative, and organizational skills, with successful prior experience in fundraising or coordinating scholarly or professional conferences preferred; prior successful teaching experience and a record of publications concerning food law and policy topics preferred; a strong record of established relationships with other food law and policy professionals and with professional organizations preferred. Confidential review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. Send a résumé, cover letter, and the names and addresses for at least two professional references to the attention of Edna Sasis, Office of the Dean, UCLA School of Law, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476. Email applications may be sent to Find more information about the Executive Director position.

  6. ASLME Health Law Professors Conference. The American Society of Law Medicine and Ethics (ASLME) is happy to announce the 36th Annual Health Law Professors Conference will be held June 6–8, 2013, in Newark, New Jersey. The conference will be co-sponsored by ASLME and Seton Hall University. Find more information about the conference.

  7. NALBOH Annual Conference. The National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) is hosting NALBOH 21st Annual Conference, Responsible Governance for a Brighter Public Health Future, which will take place August 14–16, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The conference will provide board of health members and other public health professionals with information on public health governance functions, engaging citizens, and the role of effective leadership in healthy communities. Registration will open April 20, 2013. Find more information about NALBOH and the 21st Annual Conference.

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Legal Tools

  1. 50-state legislative tracking system from ASTHO. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) State Health Policy team provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for the state health agency legislative liaisons to exchange ideas on public health policies. The State Health Policy team tracks and analyzes legislation, regulations and executive orders across the states. Activity at the state level is tracked through an electronic 50-state legislative tracking system, news from publications and other professional organizations, and communication with ASTHO members. ASTHO provides the resources to assist state health agencies and others in understanding national trends and emerging issues impacting public health and state health agencies. Find more information and access the 50-state legislative tracking system.

  2. Public health and information sharing toolkit. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has published The Public Health & Information Sharing (PH&IS) Toolkit, which addresses key concepts regarding public health agencies' authority to collect, use, and share information to prepare and respond to a public health emergency. The toolkit addresses information sharing issues in general and when information sharing involves the workplace or law enforcement. The toolkit's component documents are designed to assist in education, training, and planning activities to prepare for emergencies, as well as to serve as a quick reference resource during an emergency response to an event. The PH&IS Toolkit is one of six toolkits in ASTHO's Legal Preparedness Series. Find more information and access the toolkit.

  3. Catalogue of state bullying laws and bullying prevention toolkit. In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) reviewed state bullying laws and identified 11 key components common among many of the laws. Bullying, cyber bullying and related behaviors may be addressed in a single law or may be addressed in multiple laws. In some cases, bullying appears in the criminal code of a state that may apply to juveniles. A catalogue of the laws may be found at, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DOE has also released a free two-part training tool kit designed to reduce incidents of bullying for use by classroom teachers and educators. Find more information about state bullying laws and access the bullying prevention toolkit.

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Top Stories

  1. New York: Judge halts New York City soda ban

    Wall Street Journal (03/11/2013) Michael Howard Saul

    New York City’s regulations banning the sale of sugary drinks over 16 oz. were enjoined on March 11, 2013 by New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling. The regulations, which would have taken effect on March 12, 2013, would have allowed the city to fine vendors $200 per sale of oversized sugary drink after a three-month grace period.

    Judge Tingling wrote that the regulations were “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences . . .” and that “[t]he simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole . . . the loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the state purpose of the rule.”

    The regulations, unique and new type of rules in the escalating conflict surrounding the nation’s weight and diet, were passed by the New York City Board of Health in 2012. The regulations applied to restaurants, bars, movies theaters, and other venues, which are regulated by the city, but not convenience stores or supermarkets, which are regulated by the state.

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed the regulation and has been one of its most vociferous advocates in the anti-obesity effort. Consumers are not wholly supportive of the new soda regulation and are skeptical of its efficacy. “It’s ridiculous to put this kind of money and legislation into something people are going to find a way to bypass,” said forty-six-year-old Dante Nero of New York City’s Brooklyn borough.

    Mayor Bloomberg’s other public health regulations, such as bans on smoking in bars and lowering transfats in restaurants, were also met with doubt, but have become more popular since their implementation.

    [Editor’s note: Find more information about New York City’s sugary soda regulations [PDF - 374KB], read the regulations [PDF - 322KB], and read the New York Supreme Court opinion.]

  2. International: A decade after devastating outbreak, is the world better prepared for next SARS? (03/07/2013) Helen Branswell

    In 2003, Asia reported the first cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. Within a matter of months, the virus had spread to four continents, including North America, and more than two dozen countries had reported instances of the illness before it was contained. The speed and severity with which the illness struck and spread throughout the global economy brought new understanding of how the world must respond to threats of new infectious diseases.

    Under the rules of the World Health Organization (WTO), national governments are responsible for reporting the severity of the contagion to the WTO. Due to lack of infrastructure, Canadian federal officials were unable to receive accurate numbers regarding the SARS outbreak in Toronto, Ontario, though it was the only large SARS outbreak outside of Asia. Since the SARS epidemic, many governments and health organizations have created laws, infrastructures, and systems for dealing with and responding to infectious diseases on a global scale. In Ontario, Canada, tracking the disease and allowing the information to flow to the correct parties presented an enormous challenge. “We don’t have to work with sticky notes on a board. We’ve got information systems. We’ve got very skilled staff who are able to manipulate that data and turn it into reports right away, and get those out in pretty well real-time to our public health partners. That kind of capacity . . . did not exist in Ontario at the time of SARS,” said Dr. Vivek Goel, a public health physician, President and CEO of Public Health Ontario, an organization created because of the SARS outbreak.

    “The world’s better prepared to respond, because they’ve had experience in it. They’re not better prepared with vaccines, because there isn’t a [production] platform that you could easily slip a new antigen into and get a vaccine out of,” says Dr. David Heymann, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and head of the Center for Global Health Security at Chatham House (home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs).

    [Editor’s note: Find more information about SARS, read the SARS Commission Final Report, written by the Commission to Investigate the Introduction and Spread of Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome, created by the Government of Ontario in June 2003. Read the CNN news article about a new SARS-like virus reported by the Saudi Health Ministry to the WTO in late February 2013.]

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    Briefly Noted

    1. California: Sex offenders remove GPS tracking and circumvent new laws
      More California sex offenders go missing under prison realignment
      CBS (03/07/2013)
      [Editor’s note: Find more information and read California’s new law enforcement legislation.]

    2. Florida: Doctors not required to check prescription database
      Nassau sheriff says drug database is underused
      Fox News (03/08/2013) Dee Registre
      [Editor’s note: Learn more about Florida’s prescription drug database and read Florida Code Section 893.055.]

    3. Maine: Radon testing law not enforced in the four years since enactment
      Landlords favor new radon law
      Portland Press Herald (02/18/2013) Kelley Bouchard

    4. Ohio: Concussion law will include parental consent and education
      Ohio’s ‘Youth Concussion Law’ goes into effect in April
      NBC WKYC (02/12/2013) Monica Robins

    5. Washington: State allows private liquor sales, small business compete with distributors
      Rule in state law making it tough for smaller liquor stores
      Herald Net (03/10/2013) Jerry Cornfield

    6. National: Army task force reviews PTSD diagnoses and treatment protocol
      Army task force calls for improving care of soldiers with PTSD
      Seattle Times (03/08/2013) Gene Johnson

    7. National: TSA focuses on explosives, allows small knives
      Despite opposition, TSA sticks with decision on knives
      CNN (03/11/2013) Mike M. Ahlers
      [Editor’s note: Find more information about the Transportation Security Administration’s updated prohibited items list.]

    8. National: ‘Essential health benefits’ include mental health and addiction treatment
      ‘Essential health benefits’
      The Progress (03/13/2013) Steve Gularte

    9. National: New preventative food safety rules open for comment until May 4, 2013
      FDA’s strategic shift from reaction to prevention
      Food Safety Magazine (03/05/2013) Angela Spivey
      [Editor’s note: Find more information and read FDA’s proposed rules.]

    10. National: Concerns over laws regarding genetically modified food ingredient reporting
      Genetically modified foods: Who has to tell?
      Los Angeles Times (02/23/2013) Rosie Mestel

    11. National: Mental health parity required since 2008, requirements unclear
      Since 2008, insurers have been required by law to cover mental health—why many still don’t
      The Atlantic (03/11/2013) Judith Graham

    12. China: Police work to stop illegal sale of meat from sick pigs
      2,800 pigs dumped in Shanghai River raise health concerns
      Fox News (03/11/2013)

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    Court Opinions

    1. Illinois: Village water contamination excluded from insurance coverage
      The Village of Crestwood v. Ironshore Specialty Insurance Co., Westport Insurance Corp., and United Nat’l Insurance Co. [PDF - 102KB]
      Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
      Case Nos. 1-12-0112 & 1-12-0227, consolidated
      Filed 02/22/2013
      Opinion by Judge Margaret Stanton McBride

    2. Maine: Case remanded for application of law limiting wind farm sound levels
      Friends of Maine’s Mountains v. Board of Environmental Protection [PDF - 165KB]
      Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
      Case No. BEP-12-137
      Decided 03/05/2013
      Opinion by Justice Warren M. Silver

    3. Pennsylvania: Counselor’s discharge did not violate Pa. Code or ACA Ethics
      Mikhail v. Pennsylvania Organization for Woman in Early Recovery D/B/A POWER [PDF - 13KB]
      Superior Court of Pennsylvania
      Case No. 387 WDA 2011
      Filed 02/27/2013
      Opinion by Senior Judge Eugene B. Strassburger, III

    4. Federal: Festival’s permit revocation may have denied procedural due process
      Ihnken v. Gardner [PDF - 73KB]
      United States District Court, District of Maryland
      Case No. CCB-11-3508
      Filed 02/27/2013
      Opinion by Judge Catherine C. Blake

    5. Federal: County cannot recover airplane crash clean-up expenses
      County of Erie, New York v. Colgan Air, Inc. [PDF - 35KB]
      United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
      Case No. 12-1600-cv
      Decided March 4, 2013
      Opinion by Judge Richard C. Wesley

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    Quotation of the Month: Michael Taylor, the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine comments on the FDA’s new rules to prevent food contamination.

    “We’re taking a big step for food safety by proposing the standards that will help us prevent food safety problems rather than just reacting to them,” said Michael Taylor.

    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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