Building the Evidence base

Local governments are often innovators of public health policymaking, and local control over public health issues that are vital to addressing social inequities. But states are increasingly preempting, or prohibiting, local control over public health issues. In a new paper, Jennifer Pomeranz and Diana Silver of the New York University School of Global Public Health, systematically identified strategies to pass, obscure, or enhance preemption in five policy areas.

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Even as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, state legislators continued to quietly pass laws that consolidate power in state capitals and take away local governments’ authority to protect public health. Oklahoma is the latest example.