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State Lobby Day: A Day to Remember

We are excited that you are joining us May 10th for the 2016 NC AHA You’re the Cure at the Capitol State Lobby Day.   To help you feel ready, we want to provide some important information about Lobby Day.

Lobby Day Schedule:

  • Registration check-in will open at 8:30 am at the Legislative Building Auditorium (link to map below). 
  • The training program will begin promptly at 9:00 am and conclude by 10:30 am so that you will be able to visit with your lawmakers. During the training we will go over the day’s events, our "asks" for the day, divide into your Lobby Day meeting groups, and have time to practice with your group. 
  • Lunch will be at the General Assembly Cafeteria in the Legislative Building. 
  • Rest area during the day is in the 1200 Court of the Legislative Building. Here you will find AHA staff, have a place to complete meeting evaluations, and take a break. 
  • All activities will conclude by 3:30 pm. 

What to wear and bring with you:

  • Visiting the legislature is an active day.  So wear comfortable shoes! 
  • Business attire is recommended, and we request that you wear something red. 
  • Also – don’t forget to check the weather – if it is supposed to rain, bring your umbrella! (Our event is rain or shine!)

Visiting the Legislature (Parking and Directions):

Staying in Raleigh:
If you prefer to come to Raleigh the evening before, here are some hotels in the downtown area that are convenient to the Legislature:

  • Marriot City Center: 500 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh NC 27601 - Phone: (919) 833-1120
  • Sheraton: 421 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh NC 27601 - Phone: (919) 834-9900
  • Holiday Inn (least expensive and closest to the Legislative Complex): 320 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27603 - Phone: (919) 832-0501

We know that was a lot of information to digest!  That is why we will wait until next week to send out information about the issues we will be talking with our legislators about.  When that information is up, you will be able to read about it by checking back with us on this post.

If you have questions about the logistical information, please contact Kacie Kennedy for more information.

 

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Governor Haley Signs Lifesaving Hands-On CPR in Schools Bill into Law

Governor Nikki Haley signed House Bill 3265 into law on Thursday, April 21, requiring all South Carolina students to learn hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This essential life skill will be incorporated into the already required high school health education curriculum and will ultimately benefit countless families by increasing the number of people with CPR proficiency.  Far too many people die suddenly from cardiac arrest who might have been saved if only those around them were trained to administer CPR.

Coleman Maness, a young, sudden cardiac arrest survivor and American Heart Association volunteer shared his thoughts. "We have been working so hard on this legislation for the past four years, and it is great to finally see the result of our hard work today. My life was saved by Bailey Barnes who performed bystander CPR, and this bill will ensure that other cardiac arrest victims will have a greater chance at survival." Coleman’s story of survival motivated a close friend, at the time a high school student, Sally Sheppard, to take action by working with a local legislator to have CPR in Schools legislation introduced during the 2012 session.

House Bill 3265 was sponsored by over 20 representatives and passed the House unanimously in 2015. The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children endorsed the CPR in Schools legislation.

Thank your lawmakers for passing this livesaving measure.

Nearly 424,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4 percent survive, most likely because bystanders simply don’t know what to do. When administered right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students CPR will fill the state with lifesavers, giving sudden cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive making our communities safer and improving South Carolina’s survival rates.

South Carolina becomes the 30th state to require hands-on CPR joining Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia—all of which require CPR be taught to students in middle or high school.

The legislation was endorsed by 14 national and statewide organizations including the American Heart Association, South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs, South Carolina State Firefighters Association, and the South Carolina chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Be sure to send your thank you now.

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Fresh Food for Strong Kids

Why do we need a Healthy Corner Store Initiative?  This week, Valerie King, from Yadkinville, shares her thoughts.

Help us bring healthy foods to all NC communities this year – tell your lawmaker today.

"My little diva was born with a congenital heart defect. She has had 5 open heart surgeries and is the strongest kid I know. As we shuffle about from one after school activity to another, I get upset when I realize I have forgotten any snacks for her. When you live in rural North Carolina there aren’t many options available to stop and pick her up a quick healthy snack.

Her heart disease is something we couldn’t prevent. Now that she is here we want to be able to make sure she fuels her body with what she needs."

We all deserve the right to make a healthy choice. As legislative session is just around the corner, tell your lawmakers today that healthy food should be accessible in all communities, and ask them to support HB 250, the Healthy Small Food Retailer Act.

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A busy Albany comes to a stand still as Legislators go on break

You would never have guessed that yesterday more than 20,000 people came out to rally in support of three different candidates all vying for the 2017 Presidential bid. With supporters and protesters lining the streets of downtown Albany in hopes to see Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, or John Kasich, the scene was more than chaotic.

Today in Albany was much different.

The halls of the Capitol were quiet as many legislators were finishing up their work for the rest of April, preparing to go back to their districts for a much needed two week post-budget break. Knowing full well that May will bring on a flurry of legislative asks, Senators and Assemblymembers will enjoy the next two weeks at home before the madness of session swings into high gear. With only May and June left of the 2016 legislative session, AHA will be working hard on passing legislation that would raise the purchasing age for tobacco from 18 to 21; include e-cigarettes in the Clean Indoor Air Act; implement quality PE standards in schools, and many others.

Stay tuned for ways to help with these campaigns throughout the month of April!

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We Want You... To Come To State Lobby Day

Don’t worry!  There is still time to register for NC AHA You're the Cure State Lobby Day on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. But if you haven't already signed up - don't delay! Sign up here.

The event will begin promptly at 9am with an issues overview and advocacy training at the legislative building. The rest of the day will be spent meeting face to face with lawmakers and watching the House and Senate in action. We anticipate the day ending around 3:30pm.

This year, we will be advocating for the following policy initiatives:

  • Passage of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative with full funding.
  • Sharing the vital importance of accessing healthcare.

Register now! It's easy - just click here. Please register by Monday, April 25, as space is limited.

Final event details will be emailed in late April.

If you have any questions, please contact Kacie Kennedy.

We look forward to an exciting day with our advocates!

Sincerely,

Kim Chidester, Sarah Jacobson, & Betsy Vetter
Your North Carolina Advocacy Team

*PS - Want to make your registration easier? On the "detailed information" page, check the box beside the statement "carry forward" and your information will auto-fill on the next page of the registration form.

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Have a Heart Healthy Summer

Guest Blogger: Kami Sutton, Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator

Happy Summer, You’re the Cure Advocates! As the temperatures are rising and we are all preparing for the fun activities of summertime, I thought I would share with you my favorite low sodium summertime recipe! As a congenital heart defect survivor and someone who is in a constant battle against Congestive Heart Failure, I have learned how to eat a healthy low sodium diet.

Even for healthy hearts it is important to eat a well-balanced diet to prevent heart disease and that includes a diet low in sodium and processed foods. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further.

With that in mind I present to you a delicious low sodium recipe to take to your next summer picnic or BBQ!

Black Bean Salad (or Salsa)

6 servings

 

About $0.84 per serving

 

1 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained

1 15-ounce can no-salt added or low-sodium kernel corn, drained or ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed

1 medium red bell pepper or 1 tomato diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic from jar

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

 

Toss all together, chill at least one hour.

TIP: Serve this as a side salad to a meal or warm in microwave and use as a filling for tacos!

For nutrition facts and links to more healthy recipes, visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyCooking/Black-Bean-Salad-or-Salsa_UCM_429539_Article.jsp

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Turning the Corner on Healthy Food Access in NJ

Our efforts to promote healthy food access in all communities in NJ are really starting to take off! On Thursday, April 7, the Assembly approved a bill to create a fund to assist small food store owners who face barriers to offering healthy items in their store. This legislation will improve health and promote economic development in underserved communities.

We are grateful to all the members of the Assembly that voted in favor of the legislation. It is our hope that the NJ Senate will act quickly to keep the momentum going! Assisting small business owners with resources such as training, marketing materials, customer education and equipment is a smart investment. Store owners find that the changes they are able to implement as a result of this investment are sustainable and profitable.

Expanding access to healthy food at existing retailers is a cost-effective way to ensure that every community has access to healthy food. It also drives economic development by encouraging small businesses to grow.

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Senate Committee Approves Updates to RI School Nutrition Standards

It has been a busy month of hearings at the State House and I’m happy to report that we are making progress on our policy priorities.  See below for a quick recap.  As we head into the final months of the legislative session, please keep an eye out for action alerts.  We need to keep the pressure on our legislators to make sure these important bills go through. 

Senate Bill 2757/House Bill 7657 – School Nutrition Updates:

S. 2757 and H. 7657 would make technical updates to Rhode Island’s “competitive foods” statute which sets forth the nutritional criteria for foods and beverages sold in schools outside of – and in competition with – the school meals program.  This includes, but is not limited to, vending machines, school stores, a la carte foods sales and fundraisers held during the school day.  These updates are needed to align Rhode Island’s standards with new federal requirements. 

S. 2757 was heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on April 5.  There was no opposition and the committee approved the bill.  We expect a vote before the full Senate shortly.

H. 7657 was heard by the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee on March 9.  There was no opposition.  The committee held the bill for further study (typical at this point in the session).  We hope the committee will bring the bill up for a vote soon.

Senate Bill 2673/House Bill 7487 – Healthy School Marketing Bills:

S. 2673 and H. 7487 would take the nutrition standards referenced above apply them to foods and beverages that are advertised and marketed on school property.  The premise of these bills is very simple - if a food or beverage can’t be sold on school property because it doesn’t meet federal and state nutrition criteria, then it shouldn’t be advertised or marketed there.  Permitting the advertising of foods and beverages at schools that may not be sold there interferes with school messages promoting good health and academic success. The marketing also undermines parents’ efforts to feed their children a healthy diet.

S. 2673 was heard by the Senate Education Committee on March 30.  There was no vocal opposition.  The committee held the bill for further study.  (The Senate passed an identical bill last year.)

H. 7487 was heard by the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee on March 16.  There was no vocal opposition.  The committee held the bill for further study.

Biking/Recreation Bond Referendum

In her FY 2017 budget recommendations, Governor Raimondo proposed issuing $35 million in bonds to extend bike paths and improve state parks.  Several environmental projects are also included.  The bond referendum would go before voters in the November general election.  The American Heart Association strongly supports increased funding for biking, walking and recreational opportunities.

The Biking/Recreation Bond Referendum was considered by the House and Senate Finance Committees.  There was broad support from health and environmental groups (no opposition).  We will be working with legislative leaders to get this proposal into the General Assembly’s final budget. 

Questions?  Please feel free to contact Megan Tucker, Director of Government Relations, at 401-228-2331 or megan.tucker@heart.org.

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Good for Jobs, Good for Communities, Good for Health in the Commonwealth

Going to the grocery store is something most of us take for granted, but for millions of Americans who live in areas where it is difficult to buy fresh food, that trip is anything but easy. Access to fresh produce, dairy and other staples is very tough at best, and simply not an option for far too many. That results in higher rates of obesity and preventable health complications and diseases. We have a solution in the Commonwealth, funding the MA Food Trust Program.

The funding would increase access to nutritious and affordable food by establishing a flexible financing program to provide grants, loans and technical assistance to support the development, renovation, and expansion of retailers selling healthy foods in underserved communities. Lack of access to healthy, affordable foods in too many Massachusetts communities undermines the health and well-being of children and families across the commonwealth. Assistance is needed in our communities and across the state to tackle this problem. Providing direct funding to the MA Food Trust will play a major role in addressing the need for better access to healthy food, and will promote better public health and increased economic vitality.

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Urge House Human Services Committee to Support Nutrition Standards for State Government

We've made great progress in moving legislation through the Senate that would require nutrition standards for food sold and served by Vermont state agencies. But we need your help in urging a House committee to advance this legislation, S.196. If Vermont enacts this measure, we'd be the first state in the country to set standards for food sold by the state in vending, food service and institutions. That would be terrific news in our efforts in trying to reduce diet-related diseases and obesity.

  • Government needs to walk-the-walk to serve as a role model for other businesses in the state to assure access to healthy foods and beverages and address diet-related diseases.
  • In the United States, obesity and diet-related disease cost $190 billion annually in health care costs. Vermont spends approximately $290 million each year.
  • About half of those costs are paid by Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The other costs are paid by businesses and individual citizens.
  • Obesity-related chronic diseases are projected to sky-rocket if current trends continue. The Robert Wood Johnson Annual State of Obesity report shows Vermont’s 38,000 cases of heart disease will climb to 190,000 in the next 15 years if we don’t act now.
  • Providing healthier food options on public property is a sensible, low-cost chronic disease prevention strategy.
  • Healthy vending practices could help to decrease health care costs and lost productivity due to chronic diseases.
  • Healthy vending on public property supports and models healthy eating.
  • Consumer choice is changing and vendors need to keep pace. A Vermont Department of Health 2015 survey of state employees found:
    • 89% preferred healthy foods in their diet always or as often as possible
    • 75% said they would be willing to spend more for healthier options if they were available in the building

Please let House Human Services Committee members know this issue is important to you! Contact them at: http://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/detail/2016/16

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