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Public Health Law in Pennsylvania
Authorization: 2007 Senate Resolution 194

Senate Resolution No. 194 of 2007 states that “Pennsylvania’s public health law is a patchwork of statutes mostly contained in Purdon’s Title 35 (Health and Safety), but also scattered throughout other titles, old case law and State and local regulations” with many of the Commonwealth’s public health statutes dating to the 1950s or earlier. 


This resolution directed “the Joint State Government Commission to establish a legislative task force with an advisory committee of experts to review, update and codify Pennsylvania’s public health law.” 


The Task Force on Public Health Law, a bipartisan panel of Senators, consists of Senator Edwin B. Erickson (Chair), Senator James Ferlo, Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf and Senator Shirley M. Kitchen. 


The Advisory Committee on Public Health Law was appointed and represents a broad range of expertise and background in law, medicine and education.  It includes attorneys, judges, professors, graduate school deans, physicians, nurses, public health administrators, medical directors and officers, an epidemiologist, and representatives from the court system and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.


The Advisory Committee agreed to form five subcommittees to assist in reviewing specific topics and developing proposed legislation involving public health law:  Behavioral Health, Data, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Response, and the Public Health System.


In 2012, the Advisory Committee decided to release a report containing background information to allow additional time for continued work on each subcommittee’s proposed legislation and recommendations.


In January 2013, the Task Force authorized the publication of this report:


Public Health Law in Pennsylvania

Report of the Advisory Committee on Public Health Law


As each public health law topic area is completed through subcommittee or staff review and deliberation, the Advisory Committee as a whole will finalize the codification of each topic area, with ultimate consideration by the Task Force.  It is anticipated that a separate report will be issued for each topic area.