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July 2016—Public Health Law News

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

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In This Edition

Letter from the Editor

For the past few years we have published The Fifty Nifty each July in celebration of Independence Day and the unique authority and role states have in our national public health system. As the Public Health Law Program (PHLP) staff members collect the stories each July, we are struck by each state’s unique response to public health concerns. We are also inspired by the public health workforce’s dedication to creating better and more sustainable public health outcomes in their communities. We are incredibly thankful to work with not just states, but all US public health jurisdictions. We hope you enjoy this year’s Fifty Nifty!

Happy Independence Day,

F. Abigail Ferrell, JD, MPA
Editor in Chief

Announcements: Webinar About Mosquito Control, TB and Human Rights Workshop, More

Webinar About Mosquito Control and the Law. The Network for Public Health Law and PHLP will host a webinar, “Combating the Zika Virus: Mosquito-Control and the Law,” Thursday, July 21, 2016, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm (EDT). Speakers will provide an overview of the public health problem Zika poses, including an update on legal and policy approaches used to address the virus, both internationally and domestically. Presenters will also discuss the legal framework for community mosquito control and will offer information on how law and policy can be used to prevent the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika.

Workshop About Tuberculosis, Human Rights, and the Law. KELIN, in partnership with International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, Stop TB Partnership, and the Judicial Training Institute of Kenya will host “Judicial Workshop on Tuberculosis, Human Rights, and the Law.” The workshop will examine the relationship among these topics, with a focus on international law and domestic jurisprudence from the region and around the world. It will also inform judges about the biomedical, social, and economic aspects of the TB epidemic in the region. The workshop will be held July 24–25, 2016, at the Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.

CDC’s Prevention Status Reports. Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) highlight the status of state-level policies and practices to address critical public health problems. Reports are available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the following 10 health topics: alcohol-related harms; healthcare-associated infections; heart disease and stroke; HIV; motor vehicle injuries; nutrition, physical activity, and obesity; prescription drug overdose; teen pregnancy; and tobacco use. Because many of the PSR topics are relevant to public health law, the News will be featuring different PSR topics in the announcements during the coming months. Read the reports to learn more about state policies to prevent motor vehicle injuries, including seat belt laws, child passenger restraint laws, graduated driver licensing policies, and ignition interlock laws.

2016 Public Health Law Conference. The Public Health Law Conference will take place September 15–17, 2016, in Washington, DC. The conference, hosted by the Network for Public Health Law, is for public health lawyers, practitioners, officials, policy makers, researchers, and advocates. Conference attendees will learn about laws and policies affecting critical public health issues, such as disease prevention, drug overdose, health data sharing, and access to care. Early bird registration ends August 16, 2016. A preliminary agenda is available now.

EPA Guide to Communicating Radiation Risks. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released this resource for emergency responders and federal, state, and local health officials to help them communicate with the public and the media during a radiological crisis.

Legal Tools: Public Health Law Competency Model, Electronic Health Record Toolkit

Public Health Law Competency Model: Version 1.0. [PDF - 1.4MB] PHLP’s competency model provides a framework for the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of entry-level, supervisory, and executive-level public health practitioners in public health law. The model is for attorneys, public health practitioners, legal educators, and policy makers seeking a benchmark for satisfactory or exemplary public health law understanding and performance.

Electronic Health Record Toolkit. Through a collaboration with CDC’s Division for Healthcare Quality Promotion, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the Keystone Center, PHLP examined the use of law and legal tools to improve access to electronic health record (EHR) systems in healthcare facilities during outbreaks. This toolkit can help health department professionals work with healthcare facilities during outbreaks (including outbreaks of healthcare-associated infections) to secure access to EHR systems and facilitate outbreak investigations.

The Fifty Nifty

Alabama: New Alabama law allows more people to administer epinephrine
WVTM 13   (06/22/2016)  
[Editor’s note: Read Alabama’s HB294 [PDF - 36KB].]

Alaska: State to consider unified healthcare authority
Juneau Empire   (07/07/2016)  

Arizona: Arizona law enforcement revising stance on rape kits
FOX 10   (06/21/2016)   Ryan Van Velzer

Arkansas: Arkansas telemedicine law faces flak over ‘originating site’ issue
MHealth Intelligence   (06/24/2016)   Eric Wicklund
[Editor’s note: Learn more about the Arkansas Telemedicine Law, Arkansas Act 887, which went into effect July 1, 2016.]

California: This new California law could dramatically change the demographics of its electorate
The Washington Post   (07/11/2016)   Eric McGhee and Mindy Romero
[Editor’s note: Read California’s New Motor Voter Act.]

Colorado: Colorado serves as template for marijuana businesses
Las Vegas Now   (07/11/2016)   Patrick Walker
[Editor’s note: Learn more about Colorado’s marijuana laws.]

Connecticut: Connecticut law maker pushes nuclear waste bill
News 8 WTNH   (07/12/2016)   Keith Kountz
[Editor’s note: Read the proposed Stranded Nuclear Waste Accountability Act of 2016.]

Delaware: Connecticut, Delaware want Brunner Island to pollute less
Lancaster Online   (07/12/2016)   Tim Stuhhldreher
[Editor’s note: Learn more about the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Brunner Island petition to the EPA.]

Florida: How can communities prepare for mass shootings? Orlando offers lessons
New York Times   (06/19/2016)   Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Denise Grady
[Editor’s note: Learn more about emergency legal preparedness, hospital legal preparedness, and PHLP’s Public Health Emergency Law Competency Model Version 1.0.]

Georgia: Coal ash raises concerns at second South Georgia landfill
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   (06/20/2016)   Dan Chapman  

Hawaii: Hawaii’s Pokémon Go craze prompts warning from police
KHON2   (07/11/2016)   Brigette Namata

Idaho: Teleclinics for doctors mean Idaho patients can skip specialists
Idaho Statesman   (06/26/2016)   Cynthia Sewell

Illinois: Judge orders Illinois to add PTSD to medical marijuana list
WTOP   (06/2/2016)   Carla K. Johnson

Indiana: State and local officials researching app designed to fight human trafficking with hotel photos
Fox 59   (06/27/2016)   Zach Myers

Iowa: Johnson County looks to curb food insecurity
KCRG-TV9   (06/28/2016)   Mark Carlson

Kansas: Neighbors rescue infant found in Kansas trash compactor
PIX11   (07/11/2016)   Talia Tirella

Kentucky: New 2,900-acre wildlife area could open this fall
Courier-Journal   (07/11/2016)   James Bruggers

Louisiana: Louisiana’s vanishing island: America’s first climate refugees
EcoWatch   (06/28/2016)   Katie Pohlman

Maine: Portland raises minimum age to buy cigarettes—but 18 year olds can still smoke
Bangor Daily News   (06/21/2016)   Jake Bleiberg

Maryland: Maryland hospitals launch effort to inform consumers on changing landscape
The Baltimore Sun   (06/28/2016)   Meredith Cohn

Massachusetts: Zika vaccine under development by Boston researchers
WCVB 5   (06/28/2016)  

Michigan: Michigan Health Endowment Fund to offer Medigap subsidy for low-income seniors
WILK10 NBC   (07/06/2016)  

Minnesota: Hallberg’s picture of health: medical marijuana and pain
MPR News   (07/05/2016)  
[Editor’s note: Learn more about medical marijuana in Minnesota.]

Mississippi: Mississippi enjoyed safe boating enforcement period during Independence Day weekend
Sun Herald   (07/10/2016)  

Missouri: Nixon signs bill expanding penalties for sex trafficking
The Kansas City Star   (06/22/2016)   Matt Campbell
[Editor’s note: Learn more about Missouri’s HB 1562.]

Montana: Prices for Montana medical marijuana cards drop from $75 to $5
KBZK  (07/2016)   Ariana Lake
[Editor’s note: Learn more about medical marijuana in Montana.]

Nebraska: Nebraska looking at ways to encourage telehealth services
The Sacramento Bee   (07/03/2016)   Grant Schulte  

Nevada: ‘Operation Dry Water’ cracks down on irresponsible boaters at Lake Mead
Fox 5 Vegas   (06/26/2016)   Abby Theodros

New Hampshire: New Hampshire law in place governing ride-hailing companies

The Washington Times   (06/25/2016)  
[Editor’s note: Read New Hampshire’s HB 1697-FN.]

New Jersey: NJ looks to limit solitary confinement for prisoners   (06/28/2016)   S.P. Sullivan
[Editor’s note: Read New Jersey’s S51.]

New Mexico: Tougher drunken driving laws begin Friday
KOAT 7   (06/27/2016)   Sasha Lenninger
[Editor’s note: Read New Mexico’s SB118 [PDF - 59KB].]

New York: New York legislation to require payment parity for telehealth services
National Law Review   (06/15/2016)   Nathaniel M. Lacktman and Elizabeth J. Rosen
[Editor’s note: Read New York’s SB 7953.]

North Carolina: House attempts to improve whitewater facility regulations
WSOCTV   (06/29/2016)   Liz Foster and Joe Bruno
[Editor’s note: Read North Carolina’s H1074.]

North Dakota: Landslide concerns prompt change in Dakota Access pipeline’s North Dakota route
The Bismarck Tribune (06/22/2016)   Mike Nowatzki

Ohio: Ohio health departments take steps toward Zika prevention 
WFMJ   (07/09/2016)  

Oklahoma: New law protects Oklahoma waters
Tulsa Beacon   (07/14/2016)  
[Editor’s note: Learn more about Oklahoma’s HB 2446.]

Oregon: Health authority launches campaign against underage pot use
Portland Tribune   (07/07/2016)   Paris Achen
[Editor’s note: Learn more about Oregon’s marijuana laws.]

Pennsylvania: Active shooting training exercise at Delaware County schools
6 ABC   (06/21/2016)

Rhode Island: Rhode Island governor signs school recess mandate into law   (06/28/2016)   Michael Dwyer

South Carolina: DHEC launches S.C. Food Grades app to enhance public acces to restaurant information
Greenwood Today   (06/28/2016)
[Editor’s note: Check out South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control’s new website, SC Food Grades.]  

South Dakota: Public meeting to seek input on mental health service
Capital Journal   (07/06/2016)   Nick Lowrey

Tennessee: Teen killer’s story inspires push to change Tennessee law
Times Free Press   (07/10/2016)  

Texas: Texas health officials ‘ready’ for possible Zika outbreak; efforts on education
KVUE ABC   (07/07/2016)   Oscar MArgain

Utah: 4 Utah public health clinics to expand dental services with new federal funds
KSL   (06/26/2016)   Wendy Leonard

Vermont: Vermont GMO law tougher than US plan
Burlington Free Press   (06/24/2016)   Dave Gram
[Editor’s note: Read Vermont’s Act 120 [PDF - 129KB].]

Virginia: Emergency workers train for smoke in tunnel situations during metro drill
NBC Washington   (06/26/2016)   Derrick Ward

Washington: King County drops plan for septic-system fee
The Seattle Times   ((06/29/2016)   Lynn Thompson

West Virginia: WV healthcare centers join new accountable care organization
West Virginia Public Broadcasting   (6/21/2016)   Kara Leigh Lofton

Wisconsin:  Health officials push flu shots over nasal vaccines
Wisconsin Public Radio   (07/08/2016)   Shamane Mills
[Editor’s note: Learn more about CDC’s guidance regarding live attenuated influenza vaccine.]

Wyoming: City Council passes resolution for crosswalk at Pershing-Duff
Wyoming News   (06/28/2016)   James Chilton

District of Columbia: Washington DC Department of Health asks for cannabis regulation and taxes
Culture Magazine   (07/08/2016)   Nicole Potter
[Editor’s note: Learn more about the District of Columbia’s marijuana laws.]

Profile in Public Health Law: Robert B. Eadie, Monroe County, Florida

Administrator and Health Officer, Florida Health, Monroe County, Florida

Vanderbilt University, JD

CDC Public Health Law News (PHLN): Please describe your career path.

Eadie: This causes me to reflect back and it amazes me how truly fortunate I’ve been from the assignments I’ve had, to the people I’ve met along the way and the experiences I’ve enjoyed. My career certainly did not follow the track I assumed it would when I graduated from law school.

I graduated from Vanderbilt School of Law and went to work in the Department of Law of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Metro). Nashville and Davidson County were the first consolidated city and county in the country in 1963. Some of my clients were the health department, Metro Social Services, Parks and Recreation and Water and Sewer Services.

By necessity, I gained a great deal of knowledge and experience very quickly. In addition, I gained a real appreciation for how politics and public policy are inextricably tied together. It was through my legal representation of the health department that I first became interested in public health.

After working several years as a government lawyer, I was asked to join the Nashville branch of an international insurance brokerage firm. My job was to expand, and later to head up, a unit that managed liability exposures for local governments and utilities. The trend toward the abolishment of sovereign immunity had just begun to accelerate, so there were areas of the law that were new to the public sector. Eventually, the program was expanded nationally. While it was great fun to be on the leading edge of change, I came to realize that working in the private sector was n’ t something I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. There was too much traveling involved and I had a young family I wanted to be with more than my job allowed.

Here again, good fortune entered the picture. The director of the Metro Health Department was looking for someone he could have on his staff as his legal counsel. We had developed a good working relationship when I was at the Metro Legal Department and had kept in touch over the years. He called me one day and asked if I had any interest in coming to work for him. The department had several human resources  issues that required immediate and sustained attention, and he wanted a lawyer on his staff who would be devoted solely to health department matters.

The timing and circumstances were right, and the rest is history.

I joined the Metro Health Department in fall 1981 and left in 2005. During this time, my fascination with the practice of public health and its interplay with the law continued to grow (and still does). I progressed from an emphasis on employment law through several administrative positions that involved more and more financial and operational responsibilities. For the last ten years I was the deputy director at the Metro Health Department . The functional roles of this position were the chief operations officer and department counsel.

In January 2006, I was appointed as the d eputy s ecretary for a dministration of the Florida Department of Health and am currently the administrator and health officer of the Monroe County Health Department. Monroe County is made up of the southernmost part of Florida, with the vast majority of the population residing in the Florida Keys. I served as the interim d irector of the Division of Public Health Preparedness and Community Response in 2013–2014.

I’ve enjoyed every job I’ve had, but I must say that my present position is the most fun. There’s never a dull moment, and the unusual is the norm rather than the exception.

PHLN: Why did you become a lawyer?

Eadie: I wish I could say that it a lifelong calling or some great epiphany propelled me into becoming a lawyer, but the truth is much more mundane. I had entered the University of North Carolina planning to go to med school. Organic chemistry disabused me of that notion. A lack of aptitude and application for the hard sciences persuaded me that my future was not in medicine. My real interests of study were history and political science, so that’s what I concentrated on and received a BA in h istory. My dad, being the realist—and the one paying the bills—often pointed out the fact that my liberal arts education was very nice but not very practical and that I should plan on post-graduate study. After considering business school and law school, I chose law. I can honestly say that I have never regretted the decision.

PHLN: How did you transition from practicing law to health department leadership?

Eadie: A short time after I joined the insurance company, I was placed in charge of the unit. As with my previous experience with Metro, I had to learn a great deal about management in a hurry. When I joined the health department, the director involved me with managing a work unit, but also with formulating policy. As health directors changed, I assumed administrative duties in addition to my legal counsel duties. As time progressed, the directors and I integrated public health law into the development of our strategic and operational planning. The health data was the basis for our planning, and the law guided how we implemented our strategies. It was an evolutionary process that just came into being over a period of time. It was a matter of “what do we need to do and how can we do it.” Maybe it can be called “practical policy making.”

PHLN: Will you please describe your day-to-day job responsibilities?

Eadie: My day-to-day job responsibilities are like those of most local health officers. One difference is that Monroe County is a string of islands 120 miles long, and in some places 120 feet wide. There is a single road connecting the Keys. The county seat is Key West, which is 100 miles away from Key Largo and three hours of driving time. While there is a strong county identity in the Keys, most residents most strongly identify with the particular area in which they live. It’s rare that any one issue will affect the whole of the Keys equally. Building a county-wide consensus around any idea is always challenging.

This being said, the Keys are truly a paradise from both personal and professional perspectives. As a public health officer, I’m faced with all the challenges any other local health officer faces, but the semi-tropical location and the international influences present issues that routinely encountered on the mainline. Never knowing what will come next keeps the job exciting .

PHLN: Florida has a state-operated public health department. What does that mean, and how does having a state-operated public health department affect your department?

Eadie: There are 67 counties and there are 67 county health departments. Each one of these local units are a part of the Department of Health of the State of Florida. Each year, a core contract detailing the services and funding to be provided by the state and the county. While there is standardization, each contract varies  from county to county. I’m very fortunate because my department’s budget has been made a part of the annual operating budget of Monroe County. Not only does this inclusion demonstrate commitment to public health, but it also provides a stable revenue source for our operations. 

The system has its plusses and minuses, as one would expect. As an integrated health department, there’s a single point of oversight so there is a commonality of purpose and mission throughout the state. There are all of the resources a state-wide organization can provide to local health departments, regardless of the population size or economic circumstance.

On the minus side, there’s a tendency to view a local health department as a state agency separate from the local government. This can result in the feeling that local priorities and initiatives are ignored in favor of those set by Tallahassee. This is especially true when the state makes budget cuts to locally popular programs.

All in all, however, the systems work well and does assure some uniformity throughout the state, while allowing for local flexibility. Like any other collaboration, the success depends on the individuals involved.

PHLN:  How do you use law in your position as the health administrator and health officer for Monroe County, Florida?

Eadie: Simply put, the law tells me what I may and may not do as the health officer for the Florida Keys. As a public administrator in an executive position, and having been a practicing lawyer, I think I have a good perspective on the power of public health law and the limited use to which the full power should be used.

In regulatory matters, I try to be very conservative in using the health code for enforcement actions. I prefer compliance over coercion. In my experience, most situations can be resolved without resorting to formal legal action. It is nice to know though that in truly urgent situations, the law will provide expeditious methods to deal with the situation, such as forced quarantine or the declaration of a public health threat and nuisance, or mandating immediate abatement actions.

Florida statutes affect e verything we do. The law created the Florida Department of Health and mandates certain activities and restricts others. It promotes public health by funding medical research, recognizes the necessary for specialized treatment for some needy populations, and requires all people to participate in a vital records system.

Currently, the health department is leading a collaborative effort with the mosquito control district and local governments to establish protocols for responding to an outbreak of Zika virus and what criteria will trigger legal enforcement actions and by whom.

PHLN: Key West and part of the Everglades are in Monroe County, Florida. How does being so far south affect the issues your health department faces?

Eadie: Monroe County differs from the other counties in Florida, and the rest of the country for that matter. Just as the Keys differ from the rest of the state, they themselves differ from one another in substantial ways. Every key is an island, or at least a spot of land dredged up high enough to lay a roadbed over.

To reach the Keys by land, one is required to drive over one of two routes leading from the mainland, the Card Sound Road, which leads to the upper part of Key Largo. The other route is US 1 or the Overseas Highway, which is an 18 -mile causeway. The Card Sound Road joins US 1 in the middle of Key Largo and continues mostly as a two-lane road for 110 miles until it ends in Key West .

There are more than three million visitors to the Keys each year, with a significant portion of these being international travelers. The number of winter residents is roughly half the number of permanent residents . Essentially, at any time, the number of people in the Keys is at least twice the number included in the census data. As a resort destination with a limited amount of area, the cost of living is high, and affordable housing is difficult to find.

These factors affect delivery of public health services. Generally, we have to triple the locations where our services are delivered, and logistics are of paramount importance. We have a much greater exposure to national and international influences than other counties our size. Because of our location as the southernmost point in the continental United States, the area is also potentially more susceptible to tropic diseases and vectors.

All this being said, I’ ve never had a more enjoyable or rewarding job. The challenges here are only different in scale from those any other local health officer faces. For a variety of reasons, I think this is the best job in the world. It is never boring.

PHLN: Please describe your mosquito control program.

Eadie: The Florida Control Mosquito Control District does the mosquito control here . The district is a special taxing authority with an annual budget of $10 million and a staff of 65. It is governed by an elected board of five district commissioners and is run by an appointed executive director. It owns four helicopters and one fixed wing airplane. The executive director, Michael Doyle, is a recognized expert who was formerly with CDC and is quite familiar with the public health aspects of control efforts.

An outbreak of locally acquired dengue fever in Key West occurred in August 2009. There were 93 confirmed cases from the beginning until the last one in October 2010. Two people required hospitalization; all fully recovered. There were no other confirmed cases until May of this year. To date, no other cases have emerged.

In 2009, the d istrict and the h ealth d epartment began a collaboration to address mosquito-borne diseases. That continues through today. Our staff members consult with each other regularly, we share costs of educational materials, and we support each other’s efforts.

Mosquito control concentrates on the control and eradication of all mosquito species and the health department concentrates on surveillance and ensuring the medical community has up-to-date information about the potential or presence of mosquito-borne diseases and the current medical treatment protocols.

Both of our agencies emphasize the need for the public to take responsibility and do its part in eliminating mosquito breeding sites, maintaining and closing screens and doors, and avoiding bites.  We frequently make joint public presentations.

PHLN: How is the Zika response different from other mosquito-borne responses?

Eadie: Basically, our response is the continuation of the collaborative efforts we started in 2009 and have continued to refine since then. The mosquito species is the same, and the basic control and response actions are the same. We share surveillance information and respond immediately to any suspected case.

The difference with the Zika virus is the fact that it is able be able to be transmitted sexually. This adds a whole new component to the prevention messages. It’s especially relevant to the Keys and Key West because military personnel make up a significant part of our community and travel to and from the areas where Zika virus is endemic occurs daily . Fortunately, the military is an integral part of our response efforts, and the degree of cooperation is outstanding.

I’m reassured by the level and type of response we’ re seeing to the Zika virus. I think CDC is providing really solid leadership. I do worry about sustaining the level of public awareness and knowledge for the long haul. The real crisis for local communities will be in the future, when a local outbreak does occur. How should the community respond? I don’t think we’ve acknowledged the depth of health equity and social cost issues the locality will have to address. A few that come to mind are access to prenatal care for all, identification and location of the most vulnerable communities, and allocation of community resources.

PHLN: How are your response to Zika and your mosquito control program related to law?

Eadie: Fortunately, current laws allow for very powerful actions to enforce actions to control mosquitos. If there were to be an outbreak, the health department would declare a public health emergency and use its legal authority to en sure timely compliance with mosquito abatement requirements. To be as successful as possible in controlling the Aede aegypi, all affected areas must be treated comprehensively, meaning that mosquito control officials must be legally authorized to enter every parcel and take appropriate action, with or without the owner’s consent.

PHLN: What advice would you give other jurisdictions who have less experience or fewer resources to dedicate to large-scale mosquito control?

Eadie: Become educated about what the treatment is and whether it applies to your jurisdiction. The worst thing about the Zika virus situation is that we really don’t know what we don’t know, let alone guessing at what we know we don’t know. But that might just be my control issues.

PHLN: How can individuals help with mosquito control efforts?

Eadie: Follow the CDC drain and c over recommendations.

PHLN: Do you have any hobbies you’d care to share?

Eadie: I fly fish and kayak.

PHLN: What’s your favorite thing about living in the Florida Keys?

Eadie: Just about everything.

PHLN: Have you read any good books lately?

Eadie: Pandemic by Sonia Shah is an interesting read. The description of Key West and the dengue outbreak is not entirely accurate, but overall the book is well worth reading.

Shakespeare by Bill Bryson is fun.
PHLN: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Eadie: I’ve said too much already!

Public Health Law News Quiz July 2016

The first reader to correctly answer the quiz question will be given a mini public health law profile in the August 2016 edition of the News. Email your entry to with “PHL Quiz” as the subject heading; entries without the heading will not be considered. Good luck!

Public Health Law News Quiz Question: July 2016

What program published Public Health Competency Model: Version 1.0. [PDF - 1.4MB]?

Public Health Law News Quiz Question June 2016 Winner!

David Orren, JD

Question: When and where will the 2016 Public Health Law Conference take place?

Answer: The 2016 Public Health Law Conference will take place September 15– 17 in Washington, D C.

Employment organization and job title:   
I’m the chief legal counsel for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

A brief explanation of your job:    
I manage a group of attorneys and records managers in MDH’s Legal Unit. We advise the various MDH public health programs, primarily in the areas of data practices, rulemaking, emergency preparedness, contracts, delegations of authority, contested case decisions, and records management. We are also a liaison with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office for MDH litigation. Probably the biggest case I’ve worked on has been a lawsuit against our Newborn Screening Program alleging a violation of newborns’ privacy. It lasted from 2009 to 2014. I was very glad when it ended and I’m still glad it’s over.

[Editor’s note: Learn more about the case: Bearder v. State, 806 N.W.2d 766 (Minn. 2011).]

I have a BS in mathematics from the University of Minnesota and a JD from William Mitchell College of Law.

Favorite section of the News:                            
This month, obviously, it’s the Public Health Law News Quiz. Generally, I scan the whole Public Health Law News to look for interesting and valuable information.

Why are you interested in public health law?  
I went to law school with this vague idea that I wanted to make things better for people by working on policy and solving problems. And then, a few years after becoming a lawyer, I had an interview for a rule writer position with MDH. It didn’t take long to realize that public health and public health law provided myriad opportunities to help people by working on policy and solving problems. As a bonus, public health and public health law are endlessly fascinating.

What is your favorite hobby?  

V olleyball. I’ve played and coached for decades, although my playing days ended about 10 years ago. I am currently an assistant coach for the University of St. Thomas Women’s Volleyball Team. Being in the gym provides great contrast with my day job at MDH. I get to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, along with the pleasure of working with a great group of student athletes.

Quotation of the Month: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

Quotation of the Month: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

“Under this law, people who are caught advertising a child or any [non]consenting individual to participate in prostitution or pornography can be charged with a felony, and if the offense involves a child, they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. This will give law enforcement another powerful tool to combat the scourge of sex trafficking and keep Missourians safe.” —Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on the state’s new sex trafficking law.

[Editor’s note: Learn more about Missouri’s HB 1562.]


The Public Health Law Program would like to thank Katherine Perdomo, MPH, for her assistance with the May, June, July, and August 2016 editions of the Public Health Law News. Her contributions are greatly appreciated.

About Public Health Law News

The 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 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 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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