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Summer Success: With Help From the Law Library: 50 State Surveys

Just in time training, tips, pointers and deep dives on common projects you may get in your summer work.

The Hypotheitical

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

 

Senior Partner in a NH law Firm approaches you…

- My son got caught inhaling and exhaling CBD fumes produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device. The principal said the device looked like a flash drive.

- N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, 14,837 students in 67 New Hampshire high schools were surveyed. 30% inhale these substances.

-The Centers for Disease Control states e-cigarette aerosol contains harmful and potentially harmful substances, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancer-causing chemicals; and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

 - I think there is no statewide ban. I am in the NH Senate & want to introduce a bill to ban this in a session today.

- I need to know all about legislation from all states on this topic within the next 10 minutes. 

- There is no client to bill, so don’t run up costs. Do you think you can handle it?

- Make sure its from an accurate & reliable source so I don’t look bad.

Tools and Strategies

One common task assigned to law students during their first summer job is to find or compile a fifty state statutory survey. It has been called by one author as, “One of the most daunting and painful research projects asked of research assistants… You are being asked to find the law on a particular topic in all 50 states.  This type of project often appears when doing research for lawyers because they like to point out that “x number of states have laws on y.” Searching all fifty states is challenging and a lot of work. On main reason is that there is often no uniform terminology used amongst all the states.

To work around this challenge, it’s best to find work that’s already been done. The first way is to ask someone in the office. If no one has done this task, there are many places to find compiled 50 state surveys and I highly suggest you try each of them before you try to put together a survey on your own.

The other "walk away message from this guide is to be constantly mindful of legal regulation on the federal and local levels that might be included in your cover memo. As you will see, regulation of this practice is covered by federal and local levels. This information will likely be appreciated by your supervisor to have the best picture of the legal landscape available. 

As you learned in your legal research class, the first step is to draft a list of things, actions, relief and parties. For this guide we will focus only on things as we need a set of keywords to use in Web, Lexis, Westlaw and other search tools.  If you do a Google search using" inhaling and exhaling CBD fumes produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device" you quickly see the popular name is vaping. If you do the same for thumb drive vaping devices you will see the popular name is juuling. On the Federal level, the FDA has categorized these devices as electronic nicotine delivery systems, or ENDS. So, keep the TARP list updated for all the terms for these devices. You are now ready to start searching using the terms 50 state reviews of vaping or juuling. 

Google and other Search Engines

No surprise, when you do a search your results include a number of 50 state reviews by non-governmental organizations as well as industries with an interest in vaping. Here is a sample of some sites:

Your job at this point is to evaluate the authority of each of these sites and evidence of updating and currency. You will likely conclude that the NCSL site is the most authoritative and adds value by letting you know that the FDA will be regulating vaping. But not yet as of 2019, so you still need that 50 state review for your attorney. 

Premium Tools

Your attorney asked you to keep costs low, so you may need to use of the open web. When you are in law school or at a firm with access to premium legal research tools you will see that most offer one or more premium 50 state survey tools. Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law will likely be your top choices from the list below. The value added to Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law is that the services keep them constantly up to date. It is often difficult to judge the currency and comprehensiveness of the open web alternatives.

  • Lexis 50 State Surveys
  • Westlaw 50 State Surveys
  • Bloomberg Law State Comparison Charts and State Chart Builders
  • HeinOnline Subject Compilations of State Laws
  • Martindale Hubble Law Digest (Lexis)
  • Topical treatises with pocket parts & supplements
  • Topical loose leaf services (in print and on Lexis and Westlaw)
  • Uniform Law Annotated (print & Westlaw)
  • Model Acts (e.g. Model Penal Code)
  • National Survey of State Laws

Don’t forget bill to search tracking sources for bills in progress, especially for newly developing areas of lawmaking like vaping.

Incidental Considerations During Your 50 State Survey

Think Broadly

Consider whether federal, state smoking statues and municipal ordinances might cover prohibiting vaping in some way. You will look like the expert researcher if you know and can be ready to have a discussion of the larger picture.

Sample state laws

  • —New Hampshire Clean Indoor Air : all New Hampshire restaurants and bars are 100% smoke free as of September 17, 2007
  • —NH RSA 126-K "E-cigarette'' means any electronic smoking device composed of a mouthpiece, a heating element, a battery, and electronic circuits that provides a vapor of pure nicotine mixed with propylene glycol to the user as the user simulates smoking
  • NH RSA 644:5 “A person is guilty of a violation if he or she purposely smells or inhales the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, for the purpose of causing a condition of intoxication, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulled senses of the nervous system

Sample municipal ordnances:

  • Dover  City councilors banned vaping where regular cigarettes aren't allowed. Cigarettes are banned in a park, schools grounds and athletic fields. They also raised the age to buy, use and possess vaping products from 18 to 21
  • Keene City councilors voted to raise the age to buy, use and possess vaping products from 18 to 21

Using News for New Developments

Given the multitude of words used to describe vaping products, searching New Hampshire newspapers often gives an up to date picture of what is happening on the state and local levels. For example, in 2020, the Union Leader reports:

New Hampshire has joined 38 other states in investigating whether the sales and marketing practices of a popular vaping product targeted youth, Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald. The investigation — which will be led by attorneys general from Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Texas — focuses on Juul sales and marketing practices, particularly with youth. Also under investigation are claims about nicotine content, risk, safety and effectiveness as a smoking cessation device.“We decided to join because of the seriousness of the allegations,” said Brandon Garod, a senior New Hampshire assistant attorney general and head of the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau.

Federal Law

The FDA began looking at regulating vaping beginning around 2015. For five years, the FDA worked for the passage of statues and regulations covering ENDS products. In 2020, progress has been made:

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes. HHS is taking a comprehensive, aggressive approach to enforcing the law passed by Congress, under which no e-cigarettes are currently on the market legally,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth. We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America’s youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary.”

Use Bill Tracking for Pending Legislation

  • Bill tracking, using open and premium tools, can often lead to the most up to date developments on a legal topic. For example in 2020 and 2019, the N.H. Legislature examined three bills on vaping:
  1. increases the age for sales and possession of vaping products;
  2. prohibits certain flavors and chemicals from being added to e-liquids or other vaping products; and
  3. adds vaping to the law regarding youth access to and use of tobacco products.