During and immediately following the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of bills were introduced in state houses limiting the legal powers of public health officials. While most of these bills did not become law, at least 25 states enacted legislation curbing the legal authority of public health officials. Many judicial decisions also pushed back against broad interpretations of public health officials’ legal powers. Taken together, these new state laws and court decisions are apt to have significant consequences for public health officials’ abilities to respond to future health emergencies. They may also impede public health officials’ capacities to protect the public from more quotidian threats, such as restaurants that spread foodborne illness or tuberculosis patients who are unable or unwilling to take their medication. In this piece, we provide a brief background on the newly altered law and policy landscape, then provide examples in which the consequences have already been felt.