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The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA)


The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) grants public health powers to state and local public health authorities to ensure a strong, effective, and timely planning, prevention, and response mechanisms to public health emergencies (including bioterrorism) while also respecting individual rights. Developed by the Centers in collaboration with a host of partners, MSEHPA has been used by state and local legislators and health officials nationwide as a guide for considering public health law reform in their states.

Legislative Status Update: Since its completion on December 21, 2001, the Centers has been tracking state legislative activity related to MSEHPA. As of July 15, 2006, the Act has been introduced in whole or part through 171 bills or resolutions in forty-four (44) states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariannas Islands. Thirty-eight (38) states [AL, AK, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WI, and WY] and DC have passed a total of 66 bills or resolutions that include provisions from or closely related to the Act. The extent to which the Act’s provisions are incorporated into each state’s laws varies. For more information, please refer to the specific legislative bills or resolutions referenced in the MSEHPA State Legislative Activity Table and the MSEHPA State Legislative Surveillance Table (both documents include information as of July 15, 2021).

For additional information about the MSEHPA, please see the information and links below:

Lawrence O. Gostin, et al. The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act: Planning for and Response to Bioterrorism and Naturally Occurring Infectious Diseases, 288 JAMA 622 (2002)

James G. Hodge, Jr., and Lawrence O. Gostin, The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act – A Brief Commentary (January 2002)

National Conference of State Legislatures, The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act: A Checklist of Issues (June 2002)

Model State Emergency Health Powers Act – Media Coverage (October 2002)