On May 24th, the Oklahoma Legislature officially adjourned for the year. This legislative session saw numerous policies that directly impact the mission of the American Heart Association. This year was unlike any other and included many challenging issues.
Click here to thank lawmakers for their work this session and encourage them to keep heart and stroke issues at the forefront of their agenda!
Now I would like to share some successes. With your help and collaboration with fellow health advocacy organizations, the following legislation was addressed:
-Newborn Heart Defect Screening (Pulse-Ox): HB 1347 by Representative Dan Kirby and Senator Kim David ensures that pulse oximetry screenings are now required for all newborns prior to leaving a birthing facility. This will reduce death and disability caused by Congenital Heart Defects.
-Worksite Wellness: HB 1113 by Representative Wade Rousselot and Senator Earl Garrison authorizes county commissioners establish wellness programs for their employees. Worksite wellness programs have proven to reduce key risk factors for heart disease like obesity and tobacco use while lowering health costs.
-Smoke-Free Workplaces: SB 501 by Senator Frank Simpson and Representative Pat Ownbey designate all buildings and properties owned by public entities as nonsmoking. This will ensure more people are protected from secondhand smoke at the workplace.
-Health Care Access: SB 640 by Senator Brian Crain and Representative Dave Cox, which did not pass, began a discussion on how to develop a plan to expand Medicaid and preserve the Insure Oklahoma program.
We are already planning for the 2014 legislative session by initiating conversations with key lawmakers and stakeholders to ensure a successful session. Take a moment to let lawmakers know that we are thankful for their support over the past few months.
I want to thank you for your support this session. Your emails, phone calls, and stories ensured that the American Heart Association’s public policy agenda was consistently represented at the Capitol.