State Update

Kennebunk, Maine Debates Community Water Fluoridation

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On July 8, the Kennebunk, Maine Board of Selectmen met and heard a presentation from two area residents concerning removing fluoride from the community water supply.

Dallas City Council Discusses Banning Fluoridated Water

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The Dallas City Council is considering ending the practice of adding fluoride to it community water system as a way to save millions of dollars.

District of Columbia Introduces a Pediatric Dental Screening Bill

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On December 6, Councilmembers Anita Bonds (D-DC), Yvette Alexander (D-DC), and David Grosso (I-DC) introduced legislation, titled the “Comprehensive Pediatric Dental Screening and Education Act of 2013.” The proposed legislation requires the Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools and the Department of Health to implement a community health program for dental health education, screening and treatment referrals in the District of Columbia Public Schools and Public Charter Schools for children who are considered to be at medium risk or high risk of dental disease.

Rural Assistance Center Develops a Rural Oral Health Toolkit

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The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis recently released a Rural Oral Health Toolkit to help rural communities improve access to oral health care. Developed by NORC on behalf of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP), the toolkit contains resources to help communities develop oral health programs by building on best practices of successful oral health program models. The toolkit is made up of several modules. Each concentrates on different aspects of oral health programs. Module 1: Oral Health in Rural Communities; Module 2: Rural Oral Health Program Models; Module 3: Implementation of Rural Oral Health Programs; Module 4: Planning for Sustainability; Module 5: Evaluating Rural Oral Health Programs; Module 6: Dissemination of Rural Oral Health Resources and Promising Practices; and Module 7: Program Clearinghouse.

Appeals Court Rules New York City Overstepped by Limiting Soda Sizes

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On July 30, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department ruled that the New York City Board of Health overstepped its boundaries and authority when it instituted the Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule, also known as the “Soda Ban.” The New York City regulation limited the size of sugar-sweetened drinks available for purchase at restaurants, street carts, movie theaters and sporting events to 16 ounces. As you recall, the American Beverage Association, joined by several New York restaurant and business groups, filed a lawsuit in the fall of 2012, aiming to overturn the restriction, arguing in part that the Board of Health did not have the authority to ratify the new rules unilaterally. In March 2013, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York enjoined and permanently restrained the Board of Health from enforcing the soda ban regulation one day before the regulation was to take effect. Justice Milton A. Tingling writing for the Supreme Court noted that the city regulation was “arbitrary and capricious.” The City of New York (City) then filed an appeal, which was denied by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department on July 30. In response to the July 30 ruling, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY) stated, “Today’s decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision [...].” Mayor Bloomberg has been quite vocal about his strong support for the increased regulations of sugary beverages. The City has moved for leave to appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals (the State's highest court) challenging New York City's portion cap rule on sugary drinks. The motion, dated August 2, is the first step towards the City's appeal. It formally requests that the New York State Court of Appeals review the case. The City also asks that an appeal be handled on an expedited basis. According to staff from the New York City Law Department (the City’s attorneys), the other side's response to the City's motion is due August 12. Thereafter, the Court of Appeals would decide on the motion. Any further calendar dates would be set by the Court after that point.

New York Continues to Focus on Tobacco Regulations

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At the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY), legislation has been introduced to further reduce smoking in New York City.