House Passes Healthy Corner Store Initiative By A Wide Margin!
Yesterday HB 250 passed second and third reading in the NC House of Representatives with no debate. The vote had strong bipartisan support, with a vote of 85-29 on second reading and 82-32 on third reading! A big thank you to all of the NC Alliance for Health members and partners who made calls, sent emails or contributed to social media posts in support of HB 250! Most importantly, thanks again to HB 250 sponsors, Rep. Yvonne Holley (D-Wake), Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth), Rep. Brian Brown (R-Pitt), and Rep. Chris Whitmire (R-Transylvania) for their support of HB 250!
Advocates may recall that the House version of the budget (HB 97) included a provision to fund the Healthy Corner Store Initiative with $1 million provided that the policy (HB 250) was subsequently approved by both the House and Senate and is signed into law by the Governor. Approval by the full House is yet another step in that legislative process!HB 250 would appropriate $1 million of state funds to the Department of Agriculture to enable store owners to stock and sell nutrient-dense food, which would improve their bottom line and the health of our local communities. Specifically, funding would be available to provide education to both store owners and customers regarding healthy foods and healthy eating, as well as equipment (via loan from local health departments) such as additional shelving and refrigeration so that store owners can sell fresh fruits and vegetables. This helps small business owners provide healthier options to their customers and increase profits. The Initiative will also allow local health departments to connect store owners with local farmers/fishermen and provide education for both the store owners and customers regarding healthy foods and healthy eating.
Stay tuned for next steps!
Senate Budget Proposal Includes NO Funding for
the Healthy Corner Store Initiative or Tobacco-Use Prevention Programs
Attention Turns to Budget Conference Committee
Unfortunately, neither the Healthy Corner Store Initiative nor tobacco-use prevention programs were funded in the budget passed yesterday by the Senate (HB 97). While this is terribly unfortunate, it not a surprise as media reports indicated that the Senate budget was expected to be much more austere than the House version.
What does this mean for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative?
Because HB 250, the Healthy Corner Store/Small Retailer Initiative, was not included in the Senate budget but WAS included in the House budget, the Healthy Corner Store Initiative WILL be eligible for consideration by the budget conference committee. Members of the conference committee are expected to be appointed sometime next week. Once appointed, NCAH members and partners will be asked to urge conference committee members to include funding for the Healthy Corner Store Initiative (HB 250) in the final version of the budget. Stay tuned to hear next steps sometime next week!
What does this mean for Tobacco-Use Prevention Programs?
Unfortunately, with neither the House nor Senate including funding for tobacco-use prevention funding in their versions of the budget, the tobacco-use prevention programs are NOT eligible for consideration by the budget conference committee. This is very disappointing news and means that NCAH’s quest for tobacco-use prevention programs this session has likely reached a dead-end. NCAH expects to release a media statement on this development early next week, so stay tuned.