With the holiday season comes a review of what we have been thankful for throughout the year. Would you believe us if we told you we are thankful for you every day?
Because we are. Whether it includes taking action on an important policy update, testifying at a committee hearing, or engaging with your lawmakers in-district or at the state capitol – our advocates are our “why,” the reason why we can say we have achieved so many bill passages over the last few years.
The District of Columbia is celebrating a very successful year! To start, now all students in Washington, DC public and charter schools (over 3,000 graduates annually) will learn hands-only CPR each year, as a result of CPR in Schools legislation passed in 2016. DC joins 34 other states with similar laws that require all students to learn hands-only CPR in health class. The law became effective on October 8. The legislation also ensures that every school in Washington, DC will have an AED on site, and provides $325,000 in funding to purchase and maintain the AEDs, and to implement the CPR training program.
In Maryland, we are thankful that we prevented the establishment of cigar bars in the new MGM Casino in the National Harbor, thus protecting the integrity of the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act. We supported legislation requiring that all proposed capital projects now be approved according to a new scoring system. Included in this system is a provision for assessing the degree to which “the project is expected to increase the use of walking and biking.”
During the 2016 General Assembly, Virginia came close to implementing the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund, a private-public partnership created by a small state investment to increase food access for 1.7 million Virginians in need. After $10 million was proposed by the Governor and $2.5 million for a demonstration by the Senate, the final approved budget did not include funds for food access. Your advocacy team continues to work hard to educate lawmakers and the public on the need and solution!
In North Carolina, we were excited to celebrate a big win: having $250,000 included in the state budget that has been allocated toward healthy food financing! With this win, we are able to make significant movement toward eliminating food deserts across the Tarheel State, and we will continue to visit this issue in our 2017 session as we ask for the remaining $750,000 needed to fully implement the program.
In South Carolina, we had a big year! Not only were we able to pass a bill requiring schools to implement USDA nutrition standards at a statewide level, we also celebrated a victory that allotted resources toward funding a position to oversee the statewide stroke registry – and our largest campaign victory of the year: the passage of CPR in Schools, which requires all high school students to take hands-only CPR before they graduate!
The MAA saw victories at our statehouses from tip to tip across our wonderful affiliate, and none of it would have been possible without our amazing advocates. As the weather cools and beautiful fall leaves begin to grace our sidewalks, know that your You’re the Cure Grassroots team continues to be incredibly thankful for all of the time and the energy you invest with us in making your communities healthier and stronger.
We could not do this without you. YOU are our Why.