It has been a busy spring in the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate! Across the affiliate we have been hosting Lobby Days to bring advocates together to meet with their lawmakers, so join us to learn what your neighbors have been busily working on this session.
South Carolina’s inaugural Lobby Day in March was an overwhelming success! Advocates spent the day in key meetings with lawmakers, asking for bilateral support around H 3265 - CPR in Schools as well as funding for a position to oversee the state stroke registry. We are pleased to share that Governor Nikki Haley signed H 3265 into law on April 21, 2016 H 3265. SC advocates can thank their lawmakers by joining us here!
North Carolina hosted You’re the Cure at the Capitol State Lobby Day in May. What an experience! Advocates gathered to educate lawmakers about the need for improving access to healthy foods and ask for support of HB 250/SB296: Healthy Food Small Retailer/Corner Store Act. NC sweet potatoes accompanied by heart healthy recipes were also handed out, and a wheelbarrow filled to the brim with local produce was on display. Since then, the House included $300,000 in their budget for the initiative and now the budget is headed to the Senate. NC residents can take action on this issue – just click here.
Virginia held its annual Lobby Day in February, managing meetings with legislators in spite of harsh winter weather. You're the Cure advocates educated legislators on how the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund would increase access to fresh foods across the state. Advocates followed the effort up later the same week by dropping off a grocery bag of fresh fruit with information about the need to legislators on their way into the Capitol. Although funding was not ultimately included in the budget, the issue remains, and will be a continued advocacy focus. VA residents can further support this issue now by clicking here to take action.
The District of Columbia held its Lobby Day at City Council in April, bringing advocates together to talk about dealing with DC’s tobacco problems. In addition to seeking funding for tobacco cessation and prevention programs, You're the Cure advocates asked Councilmembers to remove tobacco from sports venues, raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21, and to treat e-cigarettes the same as other tobacco products in its city code. Although the tobacco funding was not approved, some of the other tobacco issues are still under consideration. Those who live in DC can help push these issues forward by clicking here to take action.
Maryland’s Lobby Day, focused on including healthy food options in state vending machines, was held in February. You're the Cure advocates worked hard to educate legislators about providing healthy choices among the other offerings, a measure that would support a healthier population and serve as a good role model for others. Although the bill was killed in the committee stage, advocates will continue to build support throughout the year, and try again next legislative session. MD residents can speak up for healthy foods by clicking here to take action.
We’d love for you to consider joining us next year at your Lobby Day! Don’t forget to take action today to tell your lawmakers you support the policies of the AHA.