Guest Blogger: Lindsay Hovind, Washington Government Relations Director
The Washington State Legislature adjourned March 13th. Given that 2014 was the second year of the biennium, the Legislature was committed to limiting the scope of the supplemental budget. Knowing that, we are very pleased with some of the investments legislators made:
- For the first time in four years the state invested $1 million in the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. While we had hoped for a larger investment, we are glad to see this important first step toward rebuilding this life-saving program.
- The Legislature also chose to make the first-ever state investment in obesity prevention - $350,000 to fund the Governor’s Healthiest Next Generation initiative. This initiative will provide for coordination across the Department of Health, Department of Early Learning and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to support and develop innovative approaches to fight childhood obesity in our state.
This past session we also supported budget requests to establish grant programs to fund school kitchen renovations and water bottle filling stations in schools. These investments would have been made through funds from the capital budget, however, the Legislature chose not to do a supplemental capital budget this year. Similarly, the Legislature did not arrive at consensus on a transportation revenue package, part of which we had hoped would fund Safe Routes to Schools.
Thank you all for your support throughout the 2014 legislative session. We made some important progress toward in improving the health of our state and we look forward continuing our work throughout the interim and in to next session.