Here comes the Legislature...
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The countdown begins....
The 128th Legislature will reconvene for their second session on January 3rd. This is the shorter of the two sessions (it is supposed to end in April) and is generally dominated by budget fixes and one or two big issues. Some years the American Heart Association does not have any big priority bills during the second session. In other years, we do. This is one of those years.
Any news story about this upcoming session mentions two big issues: Medicaid Expansion and marijuana legalization implementation. The American Heart Association has been in the middle of both issues.
If you have been reading these posts, or answering our calls to action, you know that increasing access to quality health care for the uninsured is the #1 goal of the Maine American Heart Association's advocacy efforts. Maine voters agreed and now the Governor is required to implement Medicaid Expansion. Our job is to assure he does.
We have also played a smaller, but active role in marijuana legalization implementation. Smoking ANYTHING is bad for your cardiovascular system. We absolutely do not want smoking or vaping allowed in marijuana social clubs. Between marijuana, e-cigarettes, Juul etc. we see the swift renormalization of smoking. This is quickly becoming a huge public health crisis and we need to nip it in the bud.
We will also strive to restore cuts to Maine's tobacco program. Maine receives close to $50 million dollars from the tobacco industry and spends precious little to prevent kids from becoming addicted (see above). Watch for a report from AHA and our partners called Broken Promises. It comes out later this week and will outline our paltry state prevention spending.
Please watch for (and respond to) our email about the 128th Second Session. We need all the help we can get!