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Mississippi Wraps Up 2016 Legislative Session

On April 20, 2016 the Mississippi State Senate adjourned Sine Die and the House of Representatives adjourned Sine Die the next day. This was a particularly rough year for state budgets as revenue projections were not met. 

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STEMI SYSTEMS OF CARE AND STROKE SYSTEM OF CARE

If you remember, there was initial appropriations in the amounts of $250,000 for STEMI and $250,000 for Stroke Systems of Care to the State Department of Health appropriations bill in 2015.  The initial ask was for a total of $1 million.  After a particularly rough year for state agencies and the state budget, this line item was sustained at the funding that was appropriated last year – both programs at $250,000 each. This bill is now awaiting signature from the governor. 

The majority of state agencies had to face pretty drastic budget cuts this session. See article for more information. Unfortunately, there will be even more cuts to state budgets by the governor’s office. See article for more information.

As we move through this process, we will be monitoring agency cuts.

HEALTHY FOOD FINANCING/GROCERS INVESTMENT ACT

You may recall that two years ago, the legislature passed the Small Business and Grocer Investment Act. The original purpose of this bill was to create a Healthy Food Financing Initiative that would incentivize and create a program to draw small grocers to areas of the state that are in desperate need of access to healthy food. The bill was amended many, many times and weakened it to the point that it would do absolutely nothing. There was also a sunset clause added to it that would do away with the Act in two years (July 2016). 

House Bill 484 was created to extend the repeal/sunset date. Earlier in the session, the bill was remitted back to committee where it died. In a surprise move, the author of the original bill, Rep. Barker, had the Healthy Food Financing Initiative language added as an amendment to Senate Bill 2070. SB 2070 strengthens employer and facility guidelines for mothers desiring to nurse their babies.  This language was adopted and the bill was passed. It is now awaiting signature from the governor.

In discussion with Rep. Barker, he realizes that there is need for funding for this project.  We will work throughout the “off season” on activities to educate decision makers on the great need for funding and to allow PUBLIC funding. 

SMOKE FREE OCEAN SPRINGS

There is growing activity and coalition building in Ocean Springs for a smoke free ordinance push. The American Heart Association has partnered with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi and the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Jackson County to form a local coalition to support this important effort. A coalition meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 19 at the Ocean Springs Library from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  If you are interested in attending this meeting, please R.S.V.P. to Laurie Johnson at lauriejohnson@4elementscoaching.com

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