State laws setting the scope and limits of emergency authority are crucial to an effective public health response. Since January 1, 2021, most states have enacted laws addressing authority to respond to public health emergencies. These laws include: limits on the authority of a governor, state health official, or local health official regarding emergency orders; reallocation of authority from a governor, state health official, or local health official regarding emergency responses; limits on the application of federal law related to a public health emergency; expansions or limitations on the use of specific pandemic-related public health measures (e.g., vaccine measures, mask measures); preemption of local public health emergency measures; and laws aimed at strengthening public health authority.
This longitudinal dataset captures laws addressing authority to respond to public health emergencies that were enacted between May 21, 2022, and October 6, 2023, in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. This dataset will be updated monthly through the end of the 2023 legislative session.
For details on legislation — bills that were enacted and those that were not — that addresses emergency public health authority introduced between January 1, 2021, and May 20, 2022, in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, see the State Legislation Addressing Public Health Emergency Authority datasets. The enacted bills from that time period will be included in this dataset in a future update.
This dataset was created in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials as part of the Act for Public Health initiative. The Act for Public Health initiative provides direct support to public health departments and others through consultation, training, legal technical assistance, research, and resources to address legislation that weakens their ability to protect the communities they serve. Act for Public Health is a partnership that includes ChangeLab Solutions, the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, the Network for Public Health Law, Public Health Law Watch, and the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.