The legislative session is well underway in Bismarck. AHA advocates from across North Dakota recently traveled from all corners of the state to participate in Heart and Stroke Day at the Capitol to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke. More than 50 volunteer advocates, survivors, spouses, caregivers, emergency responders, and hospital partners participate in the 2-day event in Bismarck.
We are pleased that our Stroke Bill, HB 1323, passed unanimously out of House committee and on the House floor. This bill is important to clarify language related to stroke care already being done, and to serve as a model for other states to follow when it comes to stroke response and outcomes. We know our advocates will continue to raise their voices with their Senators when the bill comes before the Senate.
We are working on several Appropriations requests that are also critical to improving heart and stroke care in our state. Our Cardiac Systems of Care request will continue to build upon progress that has already been made in cardiac response, and will provide sustainability for statewide training and public education.
Our work on CPR in Schools last session provided funding support for schools who want to provide CPR training to their students. Only a small portion of this appropriation was used so we are working to protect those funds to enable more schools to provide this life-saving training. Knowing CPR is the first response in the system of care for sudden cardiac arrest.
We are encouraging legislative support for Million Hearts funding to address the serious health concern of hypertension. This funding will provide awareness and education to help to know the risk factors for hypertension and provide prevention strategies.
We are also supporting HB 1421 which would raise the tobacco tax in North Dakota and reduce tobacco use and the impact tobacco has on chronic disease in our state. With rising health care costs continuing to dominate the North Dakota health policy agenda, raising the tobacco tax will provide much needed funding to address healthcare needs in our state.
Much work is yet to be done throughout the session, and we need our advocates to continue to engage lawmakers on all these issues. Together, we can make North Dakota a heart-healthier place to live!