We had a successful Heart on the Hill Event on May 23rd with other 30 advocates having over 40 legislative meetings! Our volunteers advocated for healthy eating and active living policies and were given positive feedback and support of the issues.
We are very pleased to report that the Senate adopted a budget amendment to direct $100,000 for the operating costs of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program! An incredible amount of momentum from our partners and champions and you our advocates who your legislators heard from on Monday that this was important. We had a total of 20 Senators – a full half of the Senate – co-sponsored the amendment. The budget will now go to a 6 member conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. Since no money was included for the Food Trust on the House side, we have a lot of work to do to ensure it is included in the final budget. We will be in touch soon about next steps on the budget.
Also on the legislative front, the Economic Development Committee is continuing to work on an economic development bond bill. We have requested an authorization of $10 million over 5 years in this bill. We expect the bill will be released from committee in the first two weeks of June. We have heard positive feedback from the committee chairs and we are cautiously optimistic about the funding authorization being included.
We also had a lot of success on our healthy vending bill, we received a lot of press around the bill and initiative and it started a lot of buzz in the Building, which is great. It finally moved to House Ways and Means on Tuesday so that was because so many of you were talking about it, it helped move it out. We also feel good that the Chairman of that Committee has shown some initial support.
I am excited that thanks to your advocacy this could be our year! I wanted to take a moment to celebrate and reflect upon all of the immense support we have gained and the success we have in a few short days, truly showing the power of grassroots! Let’s use this momentum to get us over the finish line!