The 2014 Legislative Session wrapped up on June 21st. It was an interesting few months at the State House following the mid-session transition in the House Leadership. We found ourselves trying to hold ground on several issues while working in a very new political dynamic. But through it all, one thing remained constant – the passion and commitment of our You’re the Cure advocates!
Following is a quick recap of some key issues:
- Electronic Cigarette Sales to Youth Prohibited: Advocates successfully defeated a bad e-cigarette bill that was moving through the House in the final days of the 2014 Legislative Session. The bill was completely disingenuous – lacking the licensing provisions, enforcement, and retailer penalties needed to truly protect our children from a highly addictive new product. The General Assembly ultimately approved the Senate version of the e-cigarette bill, which – on a positive note – restores licensing, enforcement and penalties and will truly keep these products out of the hands of kids. However, the final bill falls short of defining e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Doing so would have ensured that e-cigarettes would be included in all of the important public health protections that apply to tobacco products – both current law and future regulations. In addition, the final bill does not require age verification for online or mail-order sales. We will keep working to address these issues.
- Stroke Registry Maintained: A bill that would have weakened the state’s stroke registry did NOT win final approval. Advocates questioned the proposal and the impact it would have on the integrity and functionality of the registry. The stroke registry was established in 2009 – the RI Stroke Task Force utilizes the data to identify gaps and improve care for stroke patients.
- No CPR in Schools Funding: We were disappointed to learn that funding for CPR in Schools was NOT included in the FY 2015 Budget. Advocates mounted a strong campaign, but could not overcome a projected deficit and revenue needed to fund the Leadership’s top priorities – corporate and estate tax cuts. We have spoken with our legislative champions and will plan to pursue this campaign again next year.
Thank you for your support and advocacy throughout the session!