Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

David Palm, PhD.

Second Committee Member

Stephen Peters, M.A.

Third Committee Member

Eric Gerrard, J.D.


This report provides a framework for understanding and examining local public health authority and implications of proposed legislative changes, specifically whether a shift is occurring in public health authority from the executive to the legislative branch. It compares the public health governance and legal infrastructure of states making a shift in 2021 relative to Nebraska’s current and proposed public health infrastructure and provides a synopsis of the legal context for and the scope of local public health authority currently in Nebraska. Three resources were used to create two tables to compare both states with legislative changes in 2021 indicating a shift in authority from the executive to the legislative branch and to compare Nebraska and its neighboring states for any similar new proposed changes since November 2021. Results indicated that among Nebraska and the six states contiguous to Nebraska, two states have already made legislative changes shifting public health authority from the executive to the legislative branch. There are also numerous legislative proposals currently being considered by the legislatures in Nebraska and its neighboring states that would propagate this shift. Implications of this shift include the loss of the ability for local public health to do what is right for communities at a local level. Public health practitioners can apply this knowledge to proactively be included in stakeholder discussions with policymakers, attorneys, and citizens interested in improving the legislative guardrails available which will guide and offer parameters on how to best protect the public during future public health emergencies.