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Thanks for a Successful Year at the State Capitol!

by Julie H. on Friday, May 10, 2013

Florida legislators wrapped up the 2013 Legislative Session on Friday, May 3rd just after 7:30 p.m.  And overall, this year was pretty successful for the American Heart Association and you at the State Capitol.  

Because of your emails, calls, letters and more, we’re celebrating the following successes: 

  • Newborn Screenings for Heart Defects – The Department of Health received permission and funding to require all birthing facilities to perform pulse oximetry screenings on newborns, in order to detect congenital heart defects. Implementation is likely to occur by the end of the year.
  • P.E. Still a High School Graduation Requirement – The House and Senate Education Committees went through a process of re-establishing high school graduation requirements for the state of Florida.  By working with various partners, we were able to ensure P.E. remains a requirement.
  • More Accessible Healthy Foods for Kids – Starting next school year, churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and others will be able to provide healthy meals to kids in after school programs thanks to reimbursement under a Federal Department of Agriculture program.  Previously, Florida was unable to participate in the program leaving many kids without healthy foods after school. 
  • Stronger Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program – Lawmakers funded the Tobacco Free Florida program at its appropriate level of $65.6 million.  Stronger performance measures were added this year, requiring those receiving funds to use CDC-tested best practices for improved smoking cessation results.

Moving forward, we’ll need your help with two issues that didn’t make it to the finish line this session.  Those issues are Joint Use, which protects schools from frivolous lawsuits that choose to open up their recreational facilities to organizations and the public, and CPR in Schools, which ensures all students are trained in CPR prior to high school graduation.  Stay tuned for how you can help!

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