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Legislative Update – House Budget Proposal

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House Budget Proposal Includes Funding for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative
Provided HB 250 is Subsequently Approved by Both Chambers

After lengthy debate, the House gave final approval to its budget proposal (HB 97) early Friday morning. Included in the House budget is a provision to fund the Healthy Corner Store Initiative with $1 million provided that the policy (HB 250/SB 296) is subsequently approved by both the House and Senate and is signed into law by the Governor.

In addition, the Senate needs to maintain the funding in their version of the budget. This budget provision came as a result of an amendment proposed by Rep. Yvonne Holley (R-Wake), which saw lively debate and was ultimately APPROVED by a vote of 67-49 (see amendment vote tally HERE). House debate publicly demonstrated that there is strong bipartisan support for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative!

The floor debate and approval by the House of funding for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative represents a significant step forward for issues impacting healthy food access in our state. It also guarantees a funding stream should HB 250/SB296 be approved by both the House and Senate and is signed by the Governor.

It is important to note that if this language remains in both the House and Senate versions of the budget, advocates will still have a lot of work ahead this session. Given the requirement for subsequent approval of HB 250/SB 296, advocates will have to work to secure committee hearings and floor votes in both chambers. The work to secure a committee hearing and floor vote in the House will begin right away, as the Senate turns its attention this week to preparing its version of the budget.

What Can Advocates Do Now?

This week, urge Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to include
$1 million in state funding for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative
in the Senate version of the budget!

Click HERE for a full list of Senate Appropriations Committee leaders and their contact information.

Click HERE for HB 250/SB 296 talking points.

In the meantime, NCAH and partners will be checking in this week the key House members to determine next steps for HB 250. We will keep you posted!

House Budget Proposal Includes NO Funding for Tobacco Use Prevention Programs
Urge Senate Appropriations Leaders to include funding in the Senate Budget!

Unfortunately, the House budget includes no funding for tobacco-use prevention programs. NCAH and partners had advocated for the inclusion of HB 450 in the House budget, which would have appropriated $7 million to the Tobacco Branch of the Division of Public Health for fiscal year 2016-17. The funds would be used to create tobacco use prevention programs in each of the ten NC Association of Local Health Director Regions. Each region would develop engaged teen tobacco use prevention teams to educate peers and community leaders in schools, faith communities and youth-serving organizations on evidence-based teen tobacco use prevention programs.

The need to restore tobacco-use prevention programs in NC is more urgent than ever after the state experienced a recent and dramatic increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among our high school youth. According to the NC Youth Tobacco Survey of 2013 conducted by the NC Division of Public Health, in just two years between 2011and 2013, electronic cigarette use by North Carolina high school students increased by a staggering 352%, from 1.7% to 7.7%. See Division of Public Health talking points. 

With all the confusion surrounding the health impacts of electronic cigarettes, now is the time to begin educating our young people about the impact of using ALL types of tobacco and nicotine products – before it becomes a public health crisis.

The Senate budget is the LAST CHANCE to secure funding for these important programs!

This week, urge Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to include funding for tobacco use prevention programs in the Senate budget!

Click HERE for a full list of Senate Appropriations Committee leaders and Senate HHS Appropriations Committee members.

rob@idriveroi.comLegislative Update – House Budget Proposal