Policy briefs

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The Public Health Law Center’s publications are written for public health practitioners, legal professionals, advocates, policymakers and the general public. Policy briefs are overviews of legislation in significant areas of public health, detailed analysis of policy options, and policy recommendations.

Underserved and Overlooked: Tobacco Addiction Among the Homeless Population (2017)

Policy brief that examines challenges in addressing tobacco use among homeless individuals, as well as promising tobacco control policies and cessation interventions for this population.

Feeding Kansas: Statewide Farm & Food System Assessment with a Plan for Public Action

The report calls for the advancement of a “farm-to-fork” food system that better incorporates Kansas farms into the supply chain that provides healthful foods to Kansans.  The report was produced by the Kansas Rural Center, with assistance from the Public Health Law Center.  

Creating Accountable Communities for Health Conference Report: A Collaborative, Cross-Sectoral, and Local Approach to Health (2014)

This Report discusses key themes from the Creating Accountable Communities for Health Conference held in Duluth, MN in September 2013. The Report also has a companion piece: Perspectives and Next Steps in Creating a Healthier Healthcare System.

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PDF icon CACH Conference Report March 2014.pdf330.14 KB

Perspectives and Next Steps in Creating a Healthier Healthcare System (2014)

This discussion guide is a companion piece to Creating Accountable Communities for Health Conference Report: A Collaborative, Cross-Sectoral, and Local Approach to Health.  It provides additional take-aways and ideas for next steps, based on the Creating Accountable Communities for Health Conference held in Duluth, MN in September 2013. 

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PDF icon CACH Conf Next Steps_March 2014.pdf260.99 KB

Feeding America's Schoolchildren: Resources for Public Health and School Stakeholders

These resources provide public health officials and other school stakeholders with an overview of legal and practical considerations impacting federal school nutrition programs.

Smoke-free Foster Care: Policy Options and the Duty to Protect - A Policy Options Brief (2013)

An updated policy brief that describes the public health rationale for smoke-free foster care, examines smoke-free foster care legislation around the U.S., and presents policy options for jurisdictions considering smoke-free requirements for foster homes.

Finding Space to Play (2012)

Increasing physical activity is important to promote individual and public health.  Whether or not someone is physically active is closely tied to one’s access to a safe, affordable, and convenient place to be physically active.  School recreational facilities can provide valuable space for community recreational activity.  However, schools and communities must navigate a number of policy and legal considerations when schools open their property for community recreational use.  This report provides a comprehensive overview of the key legal and policy issues impacting community recreational use of school property along with a review of the current policy initiatives being pursued at the state and local levels to promote community recreational use of school property. 

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PDF icon PHLC_Finding Space to Play_2012.pdf1.82 MB

Tobacco Behind Bars: Policy Options for the Adult Correctional Population - A Policy Options Brief (2012)

Examination of the current state of tobacco control policies in local and state prisons and jails in the U.S., the health care cost of tobacco use among the correctional population, regulatory challenges with correctional tobacco-and smoke-free policies, and policy options and opportunities. 

Tobacco and Juvenile Offenders: Breaking the Cycle - A Policy Options Brief (2012)

Examination of the current state of tobacco control policies in juvenile residential correctional facilities and detention centers, the prevalence of tobacco use among juvenile offenders, challenges with tobacco cessation services in the juvenile justice system, and policy options and opportunities.

Taxing Sugar Drinks - A Policy Options Brief (2011)

This policy brief reviews the scientific evidence linking consumption of sugar drinks to obesity. It then evaluates the use of pricing policies as a tool to reduce consumption of these beverages and improve weight, while discussing potential drawbacks and likely industry opposition to these policies. Finally, this analysis summarizes some of the most recent national and state initiatives and considers future developments in the implementation of pricing policies to reduce the consumption of sugar drinks and improve weight in the United States.

Smoke-free Foster Care: Policy Options and the Duty to Protect - A Policy Options Brief (2011)

A policy brief that describes the public health rationale for smoke-free foster care, examines smoke-free foster care legislation around the U.S., and presents policy options for jurisdictions considering smoke-free requirements for foster homes.

Kids, Cars and Cigarettes: Policy Options for Smoke-free Vehicles - A Policy Options Brief (2010)

Overview of the public health rationale for regulating secondhand smoke in vehicles, summarizing scientific research on the issue, legal authority for regulatory action, key policy components from regulations in several jurisdictions, and other policy considerations regarding enactment and implementation.

Promoting Fruits and Vegetables in School

This policy brief examines the Minnesota school food environment, identifies challenges and limitations, and suggests promising policy opportunities in four areas where persistent challenges have impeded progress: reining in competitive foods; increasing participation in school meal programs; increasing the use of locally grown foods; and improving the ability of state agencies to support the efforts of local school districts.

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PDF icon phlc-policy-school-food.pdf761.64 KB

Menu Labeling Legislation

This policy brief provides a synopsis of the policy debate over menu labeling in 2008, prior to the federally enacted Menu Labeling Law, which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It highlights arguments in favor of and in opposition to menu labeling legislation, discusses representative menu labeling proposals at the federal, state, and local levels, and analyzes legal considerations pertaining to menu labeling.  

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PDF icon phlc-policy-menu-labeling.pdf725.96 KB

Reducing Community Food Insecurity

Community food insecurity is defined as a community’s lack of reasonable access to affordable quality food. This brief reviews two options to address community food insecurity. The first section reviews a Minneapolis ordinance that requires certain grocery stores to carry a minimum selection of perishable food items. The second section examines prohibitory zoning ordinances, such as one recently passed in Los Angeles, that prohibit or restrict the number of fast food restaurants in select communities.

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PDF icon phlc-policy-food-insecurity.pdf850.23 KB

The United States Farm Bill

This paper presents an overview of the 2008 farm bill, with a particular focus on three titles that are most closely related to fruit and vegetable consumption: Title I – Commodity Programs, Title IV – Nutrition, and Title X – Horticulture and Organic Agriculture.

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PDF icon phlc-policy-farm-bill.pdf896.43 KB

In Pursuit of an Active Education

A fifty-page survey of options for increasing physical activity in schools, including considerations involved in improving physical education courses, integration of physical activity throughout the curriculum and in after-school programs, expanding outdoor learning, health screening, BMI monitoring, and using Safe Routes to Schools Programs.

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PDF icon phlc-policy-active-education.pdf1.03 MB