Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Picture of a sign that says "STOP MANDATORY VACCINES"

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

State of play: Lawmakers in 32 states have passed laws that prevent officials from issuing vaccine mandates, shutting down churches, schools and businesses, conducting contact tracing or imposing penalties for violating health restrictions, per the Times.

  • In 13 states, lawmakers have limited public health officials' powers to mandate vaccines.
  • 23 states have passed bills limiting officials' ability to issue restrictions on schools, businesses and churches.

Zoom in: In Florida, a bill passed allowing the governor to stop local health orders if they are considered to be too restrictive, the Times notes.

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