Public Health Preemption

In the United States, preemption is a legal doctrine that allows upper levels of government to restrict or even prevent a lower-level government from self-regulating. Throughout COVID-19, state legislators introduced bills aiming to block local authorities from implementing public health measures like vaccine requirements, mask mandates, or closures at schools, businesses or places of worship.

This longitudinal dataset captures details of legislation preempting public health measures introduced between January 1, 2021, and May 20, 2022, in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Each individual bill is coded as a separate instance and labeled by its bill number. When querying the map below, states with multiple bills will appear as purple; click the state to learn more information about the different bills within that state.

This dataset is one of six that were created in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Network for Public Health Law as part of the Act for Public Health initiative.

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