Food safety in restaurants made headlines last year when E. Coli outbreaks linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill sickened 60 people in 14 states. All Chipotle restaurant locations closed until 3 p.m. Feb. 8, 2016, for an all-staff food safety meeting that was broadcast live. Preventing and controlling foodborne illness outbreaks is a collaborative effort between local and state health departments and federal agencies. 

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Before 1992, when widespread screening of the blood supply began in the United States, hepatitis C was also commonly spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Three states have passed legislation requiring that hospitals offer hepatitis C screening tests for baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965), while another recommends that hospitals offer the screening.

The Act expands the law governing insect sting emergency treatment to create the “Emergency Allergy Treatment Act,” which makes epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) available for the treatment of any severe allergic reaction and in more public places. The Act permits certain authorized entities, such as restaurants and youth sports leagues, to obtain a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector. Authorized entities may stock and store EAIs, and their employees who have completed certain training and are certified may provide an EAI to a person suffering a severe allergic reaction for self-administration, administer an EAI to a person suffering a severe allergic reaction, or provide an EAI to a person to administer it to another person suffering a severe allergic reaction. The Act extends the civil liability immunity protections of the Good Samaritan Act to any person who possesses, administers, or stores EAIs in compliance with Emergency Allergy Treatment Act.

The Zika virus in Central and South America and the Caribbean seems to be connected to an astoundingly high number of babies in Brazil being born with microcephaly, a congenital brain defect that causes under development of head and brain size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel warning for 22 locations as of Jan. 22, 2016. The CDC especially recommends that pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant reconsider travel. All known cases of Zika in the U.S. have been linked to travel,...

New Jersey Gov. Christie declined to sign a bill to raise the legal age for purchase of traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes to 21 years. Christie’s pocket veto came on Jan. 19, 2016, the last day for executive action on bills adopted during the 2015 legislative session. Despite Christie's action, other states are considering similar bills to prohibit the purchase of traditional tobacco and e-cigarettes by youth under the age of 21. 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has until Jan. 19 to decide whether to sign a bill that would prohibit retail establishments from selling traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone 20 years old or younger, according to the NY Daily News. In 2006, New Jersey raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 19.

#1  Medicaid Expansion

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, and they will be required to contribute matching funds beginning Jan. 1, 2017. This means that legislatures in those states will have to appropriate state funds during their budget sessions in 2016.  

The federal funding will decrease from covering 100 percent of the newly eligible...

CSG Midwest
Three years ago, wanting to know the story behind the troubling data about infant mortality in Ohio, Sen. Shannon Jones decided to take a tour of her home state. Along with a colleague, Sen. Charleta Tavares, Jones organized visits to local hospitals and met with health care practitioners and social service providers. Why were infant mortality rates so high in Ohio (almost the nation’s highest at the time)? Why was there such a huge disparity in the rates between black and white infants? What could be done to fix the problem? Legislators didn’t come back from the statewide tour with any easy answers or magical fixes, but they did return with a resolve to do more to address the problem.

The use of electronic cigarettes—or “vaping”—has exploded in recent years among both youth and adults. In the absence of clear federal regulations, state policymakers have struggled with how best to approach the taxation and regulation of the devices. Attendees heard from state leaders, experts, law enforcement and federal representatives who will discuss how states are currently taxing e-cigarettes and restricting their sales to minors. The presenters also described what the future may hold for regulating consumption and marketing and manufacturing devices.

According to the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, current e-cigarette use (defined as use on at least 1 day in the past 30 days) among high school students jumped from 4.5 percent (660,000) in 2013 to 13.4 percent (2 million) in 2014. Among middle schoolers, use tripled from 2013-201: from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014. Currently, at least 48 states ban the sale of e-cigarettes or alternative tobacco products to minors.

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