On Thursday, March 12, the Legislature adjourned the 2020 session. It was a short 60 day session that was incredibly busy especially at the end as the Legislature worked to address both the expected and unexpected issues facing our state.
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We want to thank you for all of your support during the legislative session and give you an update on where our top priorities ended.
Fruit and Vegetable Incentives: We were successful in helping secure an additional $1.3 million for the Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Program. This program offers participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program a dollar for dollar match when purchasing fruits and vegetables, dramatically increasing access to healthy food. The Legislature’s investment is critical to sustaining the program without interruption for 35,000 SNAP shoppers for the rest of the state’s biennium.
Healthy Drinks: After passing the Senate, the House did not take a vote on the bill, which would have made the default beverage in restaurant kids’ meals a healthy one (either water or unflavored milk). In a short legislative session, we were pleased to build support and raise awareness of the health risks of excess added sugar in kids’ diets.
- Safe Routes to School funding: For much of session it was unclear what the Legislature would choose to do about the impact of Initiative 976 on the transportation budget. The initiative capped car tab fees (among other things) which reduced revenue to the state for transportation projects. Ultimately the legislature did elect to make budget cuts, but the active transportation programs we care about (Safe Routes to School and Bicycle/Pedestrian Projects) weren’t disproportionately affected. We’ll continue to monitor the legal challenges around the initiative and what may come next.
Again, we want to extend a big thank you to you, our advocates, for your ongoing support. In these days of uncertainty and concern over community health, we hope you’ll take good care of yourselves, your families and your community.