Most states have cut back public health powers amid pandemic

By LAUREN WEBER and ANNA MARIA BARRY-JESTER KHN (Kaiser Health News)

A review of hundreds of pieces of legislation across the United States shows that Republican legislators in more than half of the states are taking away the powers state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases.

The review conducted by Kaiser Health News, or KHN, also found that in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills to curb such public health powers since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

While some governors vetoed bills that passed, at least 26 states pushed through laws that permanently weaken government authority to protect public health.

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