Play video

The Police Power

Learn about a state government’s police power as a source for state, as opposed to federal, public-health laws.


States may protect the public’s health and safety through public-health laws. Examples of public-health laws include laws governing the licensing of medical professionals, limiting tobacco usage, and promoting motor-vehicle safety.

I. The State’s Police Power to Protect Public Health

What gives a state the authority to enact public-health laws? The United States Constitution gives the federal government specific powers. However, under the Tenth Amendment, all other powers go to the states,...