Analyzing and Utilizing Powers to Remove Legal Barriers to Emergency Response

Concurrent Sessions 7: 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm, Thursday, September 23, 2021

Laws that operate successfully under normal circumstances can inadvertently create barriers during emergencies, delaying a timely response. To combat this risk, legislatures have passed emergency powers laws in each state granting governors the authority to declare a state of emergency and suspend statutes and regulations. This panel will describe an assessment of these laws, provide two real-world examples of their use by practitioners, and describe how jurisdictions can identify and mitigate legal barriers.


  • Gregory Sunshine, JD, Public Health Analyst, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  • Nancy Barrera, Esq., MPH, Senior Attorney, California Department of Public Health
  • Michael Vincent, JD, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, State of Hawaii