Florida's 2023 Session Ends Today

Florida's 2023 regular legislative session ends today, May 5. Thanks to everyone who took the time to join us for our session kick-off call, participate in our second annual virtual Florida Heart Advocacy Day, and contact lawmakers in support of our policy efforts. Your voices and stories are making a positive difference in Florida!

Here is a brief update on our top legislative efforts: 

Blood Pressure Funding

We're pleased to share the House and Senate have included in the state budget $500,000 for the Florida Department of Health's Heart Health Plus program. The program consists of blood pressure checks, self-monitoring, nutritional information, information on tobacco cessation and referral services to other chronic disease treatment such as diabetes. It is currently administered in 15 counties, mostly in rural areas, using funds from a CDC grant. The investment of state funding is critical to grow and sustain the Heart Health Plus program.

Now, we are asking the governor to keep the funding in the state budget. Stay tuned!

Florida KidCare Program Eligibility

We supported House Bill 121 by Rep. Bartleman and Rep. Trabulsy. The bill would raise the eligibility limits for Florida KidCare programs from 200% of the federal poverty level to 300%. Those programs are Medicaid for Children, MediKids, Florida Healthy Kids, and the Children’s Medical Services Health Plan

House Bill 121 passed the Senate yesterday, May 4, and now heads to the governor to be signed into law. 

SNAP Incentives Funding

We requested $1 million for the Fresh Access Bucks incentives program administered by Feeding Florida through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) alongside partners Feeding Florida and Florida Impact to End Hunger. The program enables SNAP recipients to "double up" the dollar amount they spend on fruits and vegetables. For example, if someone spends $10 on fruits and vegetables, they receive an additional $10 to spend on fruits and vegetables. 

Unfortunately, the request did not make it into either the Senate or House budget proposals. We will continue to advocate on this issue, in an effort to improve nutrition security across Florida.

Watch your inbox for You're the Cure updates on our advocacy efforts. If you have not joined yet, you can sign up at yourethecure.org/join. Together, we can be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives through policy change.

Julie M. Howell is the Sr. Region Grassroots Lead for the American Heart Association in the Southeast. She works closely with volunteers and staff in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to advocate for public policies that support the Association's mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.


We advocate for public policies at the federal, state and local levels that support the Association's mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer

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