Wednesday, April 23rd was a big day for the American Heart Association! On this day, we hosted our 12th annual California Lobby Day at the Capitol in Sacramento to raise awareness about heart disease as well as advocate for heart healthy topics designed to make California a healthier place to live.  Specifically, these topics include: Senate Bill 912 (Healthy Food Options in vending machines), Senate Bill 1000 (Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Warning Label Act), and tobacco control and legislation.

If enacted, SB 912 will maintain current nutritional standards in vending machines by eliminating the expiration date on current legislation. SB 912 is a modest, yet important measure, and now is not the time to take a step backward in our efforts to reduce obesity.  Additionally, if enacted, SB 1000 will require that a warning label be placed on containers of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), such as sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks, which have added sugar and contain 75 calories or more per 12 ounces (or the equivalent amount). The text of the label is: “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

SB 912 and SB 1000 are two bills of a multi-pronged strategy to combat the obesity epidemic. Things change very fast at the Capitol, so we invite you to please visit here to stay up-to-date on recent developments!

Lastly, we raised awareness about the Surgeon General’s 50th Report on smoking in hopes to lay a strong foundation for future tobacco control and prevention legislation. For more information please visit here.

Thanks to the participation of more than 150 attendees (including high school students, You’re the Cure advocates, and staff), California’s 12th Annual Lobby Day was a huge success.  Highlights from the day start with a series of talented speakers and an advocacy training where volunteers and experts shared insight on our three topics as well as tips on how to meet with a lawmakers. Additionally, Joe Debbs served as our passion speaker where he shared the importance of volunteerism and why he continues to stay heavily involved with the AHA.  Attendees also participated in scheduled legislative meetings and a fun physical activity – the Cupid Shuffle!  Please see some of the photos here.

I am very fortunate to be a part of such an impactful event.  Thank you for your support: whether you joined us in Sacramento or took action online, your efforts are truly appreciated and they truly make a difference.  Please contact me if you are interested in future volunteer opportunities or if you have any legislative questions.