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October 2012 - CDC Public Health Law News

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Don’t be a bully! October is National Bullying Prevention Month!

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In this Edition


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.

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.

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.

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].

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.

Legal Tools

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.

Top Stories

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.]

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.]

Briefly Noted

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)  

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).]

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

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].]

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

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

National: Medtronic under scrutiny for editing spine treatment studies
Panel says Medtronic edited product studies
New York Times   (10/25/2012)   Barry Meier

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

Feature Profile in Public Health Law

This Month's Feature: National Native American Heritage Month
Profiles in Public Health Law: Interview with Delight E. Satter

Title: Associate Director for Tribal Support
OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS)
Education: M.P.H., in Community Health Education, Division of Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, B.A. in anthropology from the University of Washington.
Tribe: Enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Oregon

CDC Public Health Law News (PHLN): Please describe your duties and responsibilities as the associate director of tribal support.

Satter: I act as the principal contact for all tribal-related public health activities in the agency, and serve as CDC's principal advisor to and main liaison with policy-level officials. I also coordinate CDC programs and policies that benefit or affect American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

CDC PHLN: What led you to work in the field of public health law and policy?

Satter: I was encouraged in my graduate coursework to nurture an interest in the intersection of public health and policy at the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining CDC, I directed the American Indian Research Program, which I founded at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in 1998. My primary focus was on the health and well-being of urban and rural/reservation American Indians. I worked on numerous research, programmatic, and policy efforts from a local, state, and national perspective.

CDC PHLN: Do you see yourself as working in an area of public health law? If so, how have you used public health law in your position as Associate Director for Tribal Support?

Satter: Yes, my primary responsibilities relate to public health law and policy. CDC, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and Indian tribes share the goal of establishing clear policies to further the government-to-government relationship between the U.S. federal government and Indian tribes. This relationship is derived from the unique political and legal relationship that Indian tribes have with the federal government and is not based on race or ethnicity. True and effective consultation will result in information exchange, mutual understanding, and informed decision-making on behalf of the Indian tribes­­­­ and the federal government.

CDC PHLN: Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, all federal agencies must “establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of federal policies that have tribal implications.” This executive order is usually carried out through Tribal Consultation Sessions and by the Tribal Advisory Committee.

What are Tribal Consultation Sessions and the Tribal Advisory Committee and how are they organized?

Satter: CDC/ATSDR honors the sovereignty of tribal governments, respects the inherent rights of tribal self-governance, continues to work on a government-to-government basis, and upholds its federal trust responsibility to Indian tribes.

“Consultation” defined:
An effective consultation between CDC/ATSDR and Indian tribes requires information exchange, mutual understanding, full and equitable participation, and building and maintaining trust between all parties, which is an indispensable element in establishing an effective consultative relationship. CDC/ATSDR will adhere to the consultation process as outlined in Section 8 on Tribal Consultation Process of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy. Upon identification of an event (policy, funding/budget development, and program services, functions, and activities) significantly affecting Indian tribe(s), CDC/ATSDR or the impacted tribe(s) can initiate consultation regarding the event through communication methods as outlined in the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy. CDC hosts two consultation events annually in conjunction with its Tribal Advisory Committee meetings.

“Tribal Advisory Committee” defined:
The purpose of the CDC/ATSDR Tribal Advisory Committee is to provide a forum wherein tribal representatives and CDC/ATSDR staff exchange information about public health issues in Indian country, identify urgent public health needs, and discuss collaborative approaches to address these issues and needs. The Tribal Advisory Committee will support, and not supplant, any other government-to-government consultation activities that CDC/ATSDR undertakes. In addition to assisting CDC/ATSDR in the planning and coordination of tribal consultation sessions, the Tribal Advisory Committee will advise CDC/ATSDR regarding the government-to-government consultation process and will help ensure that CDC/ATSDR activities or policies that impact Indian country are brought to the attention of all tribal leaders.

CDC PHLN: Why are the Tribal Advisory Committee and Tribal Consultation Sessions an important part of your job and CDC’s work?

Satter: Both the Tribal Advisory Committee and Tribal Consultation Sessions are critical to achieving our agency objectives. These are the tools I use to attain our overarching goals which include, but are not limited to, assisting in eliminating the health disparities faced by Indian tribes, ensuring that access to critical health and human services and public health services is maximized, advancing or enhancing the social, physical, and economic status of Indians, and ensuring attainment of health equity for all Indian people and communities. To achieve these shared goals, it is essential that tribal governments and CDC/ATSDR engage in open, continuous, and meaningful consultation.

CDC PHLN: How are CDC’s Tribal Consultations Sessions different from those of other federal entities?

Satter: While all HHS agencies adhere to the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy, each approaches implementation uniquely. One strength of the CDC Tribal Advisory Committee meetings and consultation approach is the co-construction of the meetings and event agendas. As well, one meeting per year is held in Indian country allowing a tribe to serve as host. CDC’s relationship building and knowledge and capacity of local public health is strengthened through community engagement with tribal communities.

CDC PHLN: In August 2012 the Mohegan Tribe hosted the CDC Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting and the 9th Biannual Tribal Consultation Session. How was this particular meeting unique?

Satter: The Mohegan Tribe generously hosted our summer 2012 meeting and consultation event. Much information exchange took place with tribal policy leaders, community members, and CDC scientists and program staff in attendance. Day two was structured as a series of site visits to various tribal enterprises at Mohegan and Pequot Tribes. We were fortunate that many of our docents were tribal youth and young adults. In the course of our visits, the young docents shared their points of view on their histories, challenges, and stories of survival. Most meetings do not include this level of depth aimed at understanding contextual factors unique to a population. Such insights are very important and useful in my work for CDC/ATSDR.

CDC PHLN: If you were not working in public health law and policy, specifically as Associate Director for Tribal Support, what would you likely be doing?

Satter: I would still be a research director at UCLA.

CDC PHLN: Describe any personal information, hobbies, or interests you care to share.

Satter: I am family-centered. My family enjoys exploring Atlanta and Georgia, our new home.

CDC PHLN: Have you read any good books lately?

Satter: I don’t know how good they are, but I do read many graphic novels targeting elementary school boys . . . over and over.

CDC PHLN: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Satter: It has been my pleasure partnering with PHLP on multiple activities this past year including the Tribal Judges Law Training and the “American Indian and Alaska Native Hunting and Fishing Rights [PDF - 166KB]” paper. I look forward to future collaborations.

Court Opinions

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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