Maybe, but not as soon as Gov. Bentley had hoped.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, the Alabama House failed to allow a committee meeting to move forward in time to get the lottery proposal, as a constitutional amendment, on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, according to media coverage by AL.com.

West Virginia state Sen. Ron Stollings, or Dr. Stollings to his patients, used his experience as a physician to inform his policy decisions while serving as the chair of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee for four years. “I have boots on the ground,” said Stollings. “I see up to 20 patients a day and I see what all is troubling them and what issues they are having and frequently I can take those issues to the statehouse and try to implement changes that might positively impact people.” Stollings said only about 20 percent of health outcomes are attributable to the traditional medical care system, so he focused on public health issues such as obesity, vaccinations and tobacco use during his time as the Health Committee chair.

By Sallie Clark

Counties are at the forefront of assisting individuals with behavioral health needs, annually investing $83 billion in community health systems, including behavioral health services. Through 750 behavioral health authorities and community providers, county governments plan and operate community-based services for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse conditions. County-based behavioral health services exist in 23 states that collectively represent 75 percent of the U.S. population. Counties also help to finance Medicaid, the largest source of funding for behavioral health services in the U.S., and serve as the local safety net, administering wrap-around human services support.

Acting on the growing scare over Zika, Delaware and Texas will allow Medicaid coverage for insect repellent as a Zika infection prevention strategy. Such policies are in line with a June 1 guidance from federal Medicaid officials.  

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ strict regulations on abortion clinics, in the court’s most significant decision on abortion rights in decades. At issue in the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, is to what extent states can regulate abortion within their borders, and the ruling likely will have ramifications for states across the country that have passed similar legislation restricting abortion in recent years. Lisa Soronen, director of the State and Local Legal Center, describes the case as the “most significant abortion case since Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” the 1992 Supreme Court case that held that state lawmakers could restrict abortion rights as long as they do not provide an “undue burden” to women seeking an abortion. In the Casey decision, the court defined an undue burden as a “substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s fundamental right to choice.”

The CDC issued a travel warning advising pregnant women against travel to the Wynwood Arts District of Miami after 14 persons have been infected with Zika by local mosquitoes. The first four cases were traced to a 150 square meter area and the 10 new cases were identified by door-to-door surveys and subsequent testing, CNN reported.

In the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, cities, states and the federal government are taking a closer look at the status of water infrastructure in the United States and its ability to deliver healthy and safe drinking water to residents. A recent USA Today report analyzing data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that over the past four years, close to 2,000 water systems in all 50 states showed excessive levels of lead in water testing results. Some of the highest levels of lead were found at schools and day cares. In order to prevent lead contained in these pipes and fixtures from leaching into drinking water, water system operators are required by the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule to treat the finished water to ensure that when the water leaves a treatment plant it is not corrosive.

For students battling a substance use disorder at Oregon State University, the road to recovery may get a little easier this fall.

That’s the hope of university staff working to open a recovery dormitory when students return for the fall semester. According to OSU Alcohol, Drug and Recovery Specialist John Ruyak, it’s been a long-term goal of the university to offer specialized housing for students recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Today, Gov. Scott confirmed that four cases of Zika virus have been linked to local transmission by mosquitoes in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. Although the local health departments in the area are testing mosquitoes, no Zika infected mosquitoes have been foundyet. The health departments are doing voluntary testing of residents of the local area, about one square mile just north of downtown Miami.

Florida officials, according to the...

Pregnant women were warned about Zika virus after an outbreak in Brazil because it was determined that the virus could cause birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition that results in babies born with undersized heads and underdeveloped brains. State and local health departments with limited resources have scrambled to prepare for the virus’ arrival. Zika virus could spread locally if a mosquito bit an infected person, possibly someone who got the virus while traveling, then lived long enough to bite another person.

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