On Tues. Feb. 5th, AHA’s Regional Vice President of Advocacy, Rachel Callanan, testified in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee supporting the Governor’s proposed budget. Specifically, she spoke in support of the governor’s proposed $20 million annual investment in the Statewide Health Improvement Program and his proposed tobacco tax increase. Rachel testified alongside our American Cancer Society partner, Matt Schafer. Both pictured.
On Thur. Feb. 6th Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler (AHA volunteer and State Advocacy Committee member) and Ora Hokes (AHA’s Power to End Stroke Ambassador) testified in favor of a significant increase to the tobacco tax (HF91) and support for equalizing the tax rate on “little cigars” and cigarettes (HF284) . They did a fabulous job arguing for the legislation and defending our communities from big tobacco in the House Tax Committee. The Committee laid both bills over for possible inclusion in the final omnibus tax bill—this is the next step toward passage by the House. (Since our chief author on the tobacco tax increase is also the House Tax Chair, we feel pretty positive that she will put it in her final omnibus tax bill.) We still face a significant challenge in the Senate and with the Governor, so keep the pressure up! You can watch video of the House Tax Committee Hearing here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/htv/programa.asp?ls_year=88&event_id=880093