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Sentinel Surveillance of Emerging Laws Limiting Public Health Emergency Orders


About this dataset:

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators in almost every state have introduced bills that would limit state executive authority to respond to the current pandemic or future public health emergencies. Between January 1, 2021 and November 5, 2021, one or more of these bills were enacted into law and became effective in 19 states.

Legislative efforts to restrict executive public health powers include laws that limit the duration of a state of emergency or emergency order; provide that emergency orders may be terminated by the legislature; or restrict the provisions an emergency order may contain. These laws could have harmful impacts on public health by restricting the ability of a governor, state health agency, or state health official to respond to a future health emergency in a swift and flexible way.

This longitudinal dataset provides an overview of laws that limit the authority of a governor, state health agency, or state health official, regarding public health emergency orders. The dataset covers all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and includes laws that were enacted since January 1, 2021, and were effective on or before November 5, 2021. The dataset uses the sentinel surveillance of emerging laws and policies legal mapping method.

Research for the dataset was provided by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dataset Created by
Policy Surveillance Program Staff

Dataset Maintained by
Policy Surveillance Program Staff

Dataset Valid From
January 1, 2021

Dataset Updated Through
November 5, 2021

Total Jurisdictions Covered

Katie Moran-McCabe,