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Update from the Rhode Island State House

The 2018 Legislative Session is in full swing and we are lobbying for policies that will build a healthier Ocean State!

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All of the American Heart Association's bills have been introduced and we are awaiting hearings (which we expect between now and May). Top priorities include:

  • Eliminating junk food and sugary drink advertising in schools
  • Raising the legal sale age for tobacco products (including electronic cigarettes) to 21
  • Removing sugary drinks from restaurant kids’ meals (and making the default beverage water, milk or 100% juice), and
  • Imposing an excise tax on sugary drinks with new revenue dedicated to a Children’s Health Promotion Trust Fund (focused on prevention efforts at the State House and in our communities)
  • We are also monitoring and weighing in on some items in the Governor’s proposed budget including:
    • Green Economy Bond (which includes funding for bikeways & local recreation)
    • Tobacco taxes, and
    • Medicaid copays and retroactive eligibility

We had a successful hearing on our school marketing bill on March 14th. After significant dialogue and negotiation, the group representing our primary opposition testified in support of the measure. Fingers crossed we can push this one over the finish line this year!

Please join us for our upcoming State House events

  • Wednesday, April 4, 3:30-4:30 p.m. - AHA Lobby Day (focus will be our Healthy School Marketing bill)
  • Tuesday, May 8, 3:00-4:30 p.m. - Tobacco 21 Advocacy Day (with American Lung Association and other partners)
  • Wednesday, May 23, 3:30-4:30 p.m. - AHA Youth Advocacy Day and 2018 Poster Contest Awards Ceremony

Questions? Please contact Megan Tucker, Senior Director of Government Relations at megan.tucker@heart.org or (401) 228-2331.

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