Menu of Suggested Provisions For State Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Laws

II. Legislative Intent

Descriptive Note: Some states choose to include statements of purpose, or “legislative intent” in their TB prevention and control laws. These provisions are often intended to “set the stage” for the statutory or regulatory provisions following them but are generally not enforceable in and of themselves. Provisions of this type are sometimes designed to generally educate or to emphasize the importance of TB prevention and control to the general public, public health officials, attorneys, judges, and patients.

  • Tuberculosis has been and continues to be a threat to the public’s health in [State]. While it is important to respect the rights of individuals, the legitimate public interest in protecting the public health and welfare from the spread of a deadly infectious disease outweighs incidental curtailment of individual rights that may occur in implementing effective testing, treatment, and infection control strategies. To protect the public’s health, it is the intent of the legislature that local health officials provide culturally sensitive and medically appropriate early diagnosis, treatment, education, and follow-up to prevent tuberculosis. Further, it is imperative that public health officials and their staff have the necessary authority and discretion to take actions as are necessary to protect the health and welfare of the public, subject to the constitutional protection required under the federal and state constitutions. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as in any way limiting the broad powers of health officials to act as necessary to protect the public health. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 70.28.005 (LexisNexis 2009).
  • It is hereby declared that tuberculosis is an infectious and communicable disease, that it endangers the population of this state, and that the treatment and control of such disease is a state and local responsibility. It is further declared that the emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis requires that this threat be addressed with a coherent and consistent strategy in order to protect the public health. To the end that tuberculosis may be brought better under control and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis prevented, it is further declared that the department and local public health agencies shall, within available resources, cooperatively promote control and treatment of persons suffering from tuberculosis. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 25-4-501 (West 2009).
  • It is the public policy of the state to:
    • 1) protect persons from the danger of tuberculosis;
    • 2) provide and maintain a comprehensive program for the prevention, abatement, and adequate control working toward eradication of the disease;
    • 3) cooperate with other state agencies and the federal government in carrying out these objectives. Mont. Code Ann. § 50-17-101 (2009).