Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Legislative Update: PE Bill Signed by Governor Pawlenty and More!

Legislative Update from American Heart Association Senior Advocacy Director, Rachel Callanan:

Great News!!!! Today, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Healthy Kids/PE Bill into law. This makes 3 for 3 this year in policy victories for American Heart Association!

Thank Your Legislators for Passing the Healthy Kids/PE Bill

The 2010 legislative session was a real roller coaster ride. American Heart Association thanks YOU for toughing it out and seeing these important policy victories through to the end! Thanks to your in-person visits, letters, emails, and phone calls we were able to make significant headway in preventing heart disease and stroke. Here are the victories that you helped achieve in 2010:

1. The Healthy Kids/PE Bill passed the House 121-7 and the Senate unanimously supported the bill. The new law will ensure more kids are provided quality physical education by enacting statewide standards. The bill also asks that the Minnesota Department of Education track the phy ed classes offered at schools around the state and asks them to make recommendations for how to use recess time to encourage more physical activity so that kids can get their recommended 60 minutes/day. The bill promotes transparency and promotes a discussion about these issues by creating a Healthy Kids Awards program that will recognize schools for promoting physical activity and better school nutrition. Finally, federally required school wellness policies will now be posted online so that all parents can monitor and participate in the implementation of their school's wellness plans. Follow the link below to thank your legislators for passing the Healthy Kids/PE Bill into law:

Thank Your Legislators for Passing the Healthy Kids/PE Bill

2. Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act (aka Tic Tac Tobacco Act) will ensure that the new dissolvable tobacco products that are candy flavored and resemble mints and breath strips are taxed and regulated as tobacco products; require all tobacco products to be sold behind the counter and ensure youth do not have easy access to these products; and prevent the sale of new tobacco products and e-cigarettes to youth. These changes will help ensure that this generation of kids are not exposed to these new products and will have a direct impact on tobacco use among kids.

3. Complete Streets Policy. "Complete Streets" means that our roads are planned and designed to be safe and accessible for drivers, pedestrians, transit riders, and bicyclists--all users, regardless of age or ability. American Heart Association supported this bill because one of the key barriers to physical activity is the lack of access to safe walking/biking routes. This new law remedies the problem by involving stakeholders to help Mn/DOT implement Complete Streets; by addressing the existing barriers in relevant laws and regulations; it directs Mn/DOT to report back to the legislature on work to implement Complete Streets; and provide immediate design flexibility for local communities interested in implementing Complete Streets. The law encourages (but does not require) local governments to consider Complete Streets policies.

Additionally, American Heart Association and our public health partners successfully fended off proposed cuts to the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). The program will continue full steam ahead over the next year to reduce obesity and tobacco use in local communities across the state.

I thank each of you for taking the time to contact legislators about these important issues during the legislative session. These victories will have long-lasting effects on preventing heart disease and stroke.


Rachel Callanan
Senior Advocacy Director

1 comment:

molson222 said...

Woot Woot! Who knew going in to the session we could have this much impact. Excellent work by all. Staff and Volunteers alike.