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The Good and the Bad....

by Elizabeth W. on Friday, April 5, 2013

The Mississippi State Legislature adjourned sine die a few days early on Thursday, April 4!  There is a tradition at the State Capitol that on the day of final adjournment, aka SINE DIE, each legislator receives a tomato plant on his desk.

Below are some of the good and the bad from the 2013 legislative session.

  • Interagency Farm to School Council -  The bill will establish an Interagency Farm to School Council to facilitate the procurement and use of locally grown and locally raised agricultural products in school meals in order to improve the quality of food served in schools and to support the state economy by generating new income for Mississippi farmers.  Farm to School programs strengthen local economies, improves the livelihood of local farmers, and spurs additional spending on other local products and services. 
  • The “Anti-Bloomberg” Bill -  This bill, now law, goes much further than simply prohibiting local governments from limiting the sizes of drinks.  This law will put severe limits on the ways that local governments can promote healthy foods and programs.  Additionally, due to broad language, it is unclear which local rights the measure is proposing to take away from cities and counties; this includes programs and ordinances that are already in existence.  The American Heart Association opposes any legislation that restricts local governments from addressing the health concerns of its citizens. 
  • The Healthy Food Retail Act -  Unfortunately, this bill got caught up in the process and didn't pass the conference committee.  It would have given incentives to small grocers to open in areas that are considered “food deserts” in order to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved areas.  
  • Access and Quality of Healthcare -  The American Heart Association and other organizations will continue to work to improve health care coverage for low-income families and individuals.  Medicaid is an important lifeline for low-income patients to receive the care that they so desperately need.  Moreover, increased coverage is the gateway to improving public health and reducing the chronic disease burden in Mississippi.  Legislators will have to be called back to a Special Session in order to reauthorize and fund Medicaid, as well as hopefully have a debate and vote on Medicaid Expansion.  Stay tuned for more on this issue!

Thank you to all You're the Cure advocates who contacted their lawmakers in support of our issues, signed letters to the editor, and much more. We truly count on your voice to pass legislation that builds healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, in Mississippi.

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