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A look back at the 2019 Legislative Session

At 5:30 pm on Sunday, June 30th, the Oregon Legislature wrapped up its work mere hours ahead of its mandated finish time. As you may already know if you caught any news in Oregon during session, the 80th legislative assembly quickly became a tumultuous one, resulting in two Republican walkouts that wreaked havoc on legislative timelines. But in the end, among the last handful of bills that were passed, AHA came out victorious in its pursuit to improve the health of all Oregonians.

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HB 2270, a tobacco tax package that will increase the price of not just cigarettes but institute the first e-cigarette tax in Oregon was passed as a ballot referral and will be placed on the November 2020 ballot. In addition to being the most effective cessation mechanism we have by making tobacco products less affordable, we will be putting the new revenue generated to good use for the health of Oregonians too. The allocation of new dollars will create an unprecedented investment in tobacco prevention and education with a focus on communities that tobacco effects most. Other revenue will provide stability for the Oregon Health Plan and the healthcare of the nearly 1 million Oregonians who receive care through the states Medicare program.

HB 5050 allocated $1.5 million dollars to the SNAP incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks which will help families stretch their dollars and buy healthier options, which mean that children are taught healthy behaviors, establishing lifelong habits that will support their overall health and wellness. SNAP incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks show that it is possible to adjust the SNAP program to improve nutrition without increasing stigma on the beneficiaries or burden on retailers.

Over the summer we are switching gears back into planning mode and look forward to continuing to update you on our next pursuit in policy change in our state so stay tuned!

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