The Potential for State Attorneys General to Promote the Public's Health

Theory, Evidence, and Practice

The Attorneys General of the 50 states have considerable legal authority to protect the public’s health, yet their role in the development of health policy is often under-appreciated or misunderstood.

This monograph analyzes state Attorneys’ General current powers and provides a logic model that illustrates how the use of these powers can lead to the protection and promotion of the public’s health. The paper then provides four brief case studies to demonstrate how state Attorneys General have used their varied powers to influence policy-making and benefit the public’s health. In addition, this paper offers a roadmap for research that could be conducted to better understand the association between state Attorneys’ General actions and the protection of the public’s health. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations intended to enhance state Attorneys’ General ability to protect the public’s health, along with suggestions for future research in this area.