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April 2013—CDC Public Health Law News

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Thursday, April 18, 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. Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act. On March 13, 2013, President Obama reauthorized the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA). Originally passed by Congress in 2006, PAHPA provides programs and flexibilities aimed at supporting communities in public health preparedness. Learn more about PAHPA, public health preparedness.

  2. 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.

  3. Model Aquatic Health Code and National Environmental Health Aquatic Symposium. The first edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code will be released for final comment at the National Environmental Health Aquatic Symposium as a special preconference to the 2013 National Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition. The preconference will be held Monday, July 8th from 1 to 5 p.m. and is free with any one-day conference registration. The main conference will be held July 911 in the Washington, D.C. area. Make a reservation for the preconference by contacting Jill Schnipke at Find more information and register for the main conference.

  4. 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. New CIFOR tools for foodborne disease detection and outbreak response. New documents from the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) give tools to public health agencies and jurisdictions to improve their legal preparedness to conduct surveillance for foodborne diseases and respond to outbreaks. These documents provide guidance for outbreaks both within agencies' jurisdictions and across multiple states and other jurisdictional boundaries. There are three documents, each of which designed to address a discrete but related research need and audience: Analysis of State Legal Authorities, Practitioners' Handbook on Legal Authorities, and Menu of Legal Options. Find more information and access the new CIFOR legal tools.

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Top Stories

  1. New York: Babies' herpes linked to circumcision practice

    CNN (04/08/2013) Brittany Brady

    According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH), two more infants have contracted herpes simplex virus type 1(HSV-1) after undergoing metzitzah b'peh, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish type of circumcision.

    Though circumcision is a regular part of Jewish religious practice, metzitzah b'peh is uncommon and limited to a small number of ultra-Orthodox Jews. During the uncommon ceremony, the foreskin of the infant is removed and the person performing, the mohel, the procedure takes a mouth full of wine, places his mouth briefly over the wound, sucking a small amount of blood out of the wound. The blood and wine are then disposed of, antibacterial ointment is applied and the wound is bandaged.

    HSV-1 is common among adults and may be present in their saliva, though many adults may not show symptoms. "While the HSV-1 can cause the common cold sore in adults, HSV-1 infection in newborns is very serious," said a DOH statement. (HSV-1 is different from the usually sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus type 2.) Forty percent of babies with neonatal herpes produce a fever, but 70 percent of such cases have suffer skin lesions.

    In September 2012, the DOH passed a regulation requiring parental consent on a form elucidating the health risks related to the procedure. In the face of the law Jewish groups and three rabbis filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan arguing that "the government cannot compel the transmission of messages that the speaker does not want to express—especially when the speaker is operating in an area of heightened First Amendment protection, such as religious ritual."

    Commissioner of the city's health department, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, says the consent requirement is "lawful, appropriate and necessary. . . The city's highest obligation is to protect its children; therefore, it is important that parents know the risks associated with the practice . . . There is no safe way to perform oral suction on any open wound in a newborn.

    [Editor's note: Learn more about neonatal herpes simplex virus infection following metzitzah b'peh.]

  2. National: Judge orders 'morning-after' pill be sold over-the-counter to those under 17

    ABC News (04/05/2013) Sydney Lupkin

    Currently, women under 17 must have a prescription to purchase emergency contraception, such as Plan B One-Step or the "morning-after" pill. Women 17 and older can obtain the drug without a prescription, but it is only available behind the pharmacy counter and an ID must be shown at purchase. On April 5, however, District Court Judge Edward Korman ruled that the emergency contraception should be sold over-the-counter, without regard to age.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spent 10 months reviewing the drug's scientific data before recommending over-the-counter sales. In December 2011, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA's recommendation that emergency contraception be sold over the counter. Secretary Sebelius indicated that there were still questions regarding the drug's safety for young teens.

    The morning-after pill contains the synthetic hormone levonorgesterel and works by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall. The pill is not intended as a primary form of contraception, but is intended for when primary forms of contraception fail, as when a condom breaks during intercourse. The morning-after pill cannot terminate an existing pregnancy and, therefore, must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

    [Editor's note: Learn more about the Secretary Sebelius' statement regarding Plan B One-Step and read the U.S. District Court Opinion in Tummino v. Hamburg, Commissioner of Food and Drugs. [PDF - 177KB]]

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Briefly Noted

  1. California: Judge rules state prisons will remain under federal oversight
    California prisons haven't improved mental healthcare enough, court says
    Los Angeles Times (04/05/2013) Paige St. John
    [Editor's note: Read the U.S. District Court's April 5, 2013 opinion in Coleman v. Brown.]

  2. Connecticut: Bi-partisan law adds more than 100 weapons to assault weapon ban
    Connecticut gun law: Breakdown of when new rules go into effect
    New Haven Register (04/07/2013) Mary E. O'Leary
    [Editor's note: Read Connecticut's firearms laws.]

  3. Kansas: Department of Health promises new regulations won't allow HIV quarantine
    Kan. Agency's promise ends dispute on AIDS measure
    San Francisco Gate (04/04/2013) John Hanna
    [Editor's note: Read Sub HB 2183 and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's press release regarding the Bill.]

  4. Kansas: Law creating adult stem cell center at Kansas University before Governor
    Creation of adult stem cell center at KU Med sent to Brownback for consideration
    Lawrence-Journal World (04/08/2013) Scott Rothschild

  5. Massachusetts: DHS chief to finalize medical marijuana guidelines before leaving
    Mass. public health chief to step down after finalizing regulations for medical marijuana
    Science Recorder (04/07/2013) James Fluere

  6. Michigan: AG pursues grand jury charges in fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 48
    Attorney General Bill Schuette Files for Grand Jury investigation
    The Huffington Post (03/26/2013) David Sands

  7. Montana: Bill to legalize sale of unpasteurized milk passed by Montana House
    Raw milk bill sails through House, to be heard by state Senate committee this week
    The Missoulian (04/08/2013)
    [Editor's note: Find more information and read House Bill 574.]

  8. Oklahoma: Dental Board contacts patients potentially infected at dentist practice
    Lawyer defends record of Oklahoma dentist in HIV-exposure scare
    Yahoo! News (03/04/2013) Steve Olafson

  9. Washington: Permanent receptacles for unused prescription drugs open
    Prescription drug take back program opens
    Port Orchard Independent (04/08/2013)

  10. National: Six states will not enforce provisions of the Affordable Care Act
    Alabama will not enforce health care law provisions
    Prattville Progress (04/06/2013) Mary Orndorff Troyan

  11. National: Some small businesses opt for the penalty under the Affordable Care Act
    Some small businesses opt for the health-care penalty
    Wall Street Journal (04/08/2013) Emily Maltby and Sarah E. Needleman

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Court Opinions

  1. Illinois: Only qualified privilege for reporting alleged falsified research
    Mauvais-Jarvis v. Wong [PDF - 216KB]
    Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
    Case No 1-12-0070, 12-0237 cons.
    Filed 03/28/2013
    Opinion by Justice Fitzgerald Smith

  2. Ohio: State law unconstitutional violation of home rule re: city's trans fat ordinance
    City of Cleveland v. State [PDF - 88KB]
    Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga County
    Case No. 98616
    Filed 03/28/2013
    Opinion by Judge Eileen A. Gallagher

  3. Federal: Court clarifies legal duty regarding aviation lead emissions endangerment
    Friends of the Earth v. United States Environmental Protection Agency
    United States District Court, District of Columbia
    Civil Action No. 12-0363(ABJ)
    Filed 03/27/2013
    Opinion by Judge Amy Berman Jackson

  4. Federal: Motion to dismiss granted in counterfeit safety sticker case
    In re: Guildmaster, Inc. v. United States [PDF - 46KB]
    United States Bankruptcy Court, Western Division of Missouri
    Case No. 12-62234, Adversary No. 12-6068
    Filed 03/29/2013
    Opinion by Judge Arthur B. Federman

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Quotation of the Month: United States District Court Judge Edward P. Korman's opinion in Tummino v. Hamburg, Commissioner of Food and Drugs

"'Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in briefs.' United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991) (per curiam). It is not my job, in a case in which numerous briefs and motions have been filed, to 'scour [ ] through footnotes in search of some possibly meritorious point that counsel did not consider of sufficient importance to [develop or] include as part of the argument. United States v. Restrepo, 986 F.2d 1462 (2d Cir. 1993).'" wrote United States District Court Judge Edward P. Korman, in his April 4, 2013 opinion in Tummino v. Hamburg, Commissioner of Food and Drugs [PDF - 177KB], regarding judiciary's duty develop or not develop counsels' partial arguments. The Tummino case deals with Plan B One-Step or the "morning-after pill's" availability to women under the age of 17 without a prescription.

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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