Advocating for Healthy Families and Communities: Arizona 2018 Legislative Update
Over the past few months, Pinnacle Prevention has been involved with a handful of important policy and legislative efforts in Arizona. Along with our incredible partners, we’ve been striving to make Arizona and its residents happier and healthier. Here is a recap of some of the policy work and educational efforts Pinnacle Prevention has been involved in this session:
The Arizona-Grown Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Bill
The Arizona-Grown Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Bill, or SB 1245, is a bill that will use state funding which will be federally matched, to boost local economies and uplift Arizona farmers. SB 1245 will fund a produce incentive program for SNAP/EBT (formerly known as food stamps) users which will allow customers to take home more locally-grown produce from farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) sites, farm stands, and additional locations. This bill is an important step forward for Arizona’s farmers, families, and future.
Our team at Pinnacle Prevention launched the Let’s Grow AZ campaign in support of the bill, and worked closely with lawmakers and stakeholders to see that this bill was passed. SB 1245 passed successfully through the legislature, and was signed by Governor Ducey.
Active lifestyles are one central component of our mission to grow healthy families and communities across the state. With the Recess Bill, SB 1083, children will have a greater opportunity to be outside and moving. Schools will now be required to provide an additional recess period for students in kindergarten through third grade. This will be enacted during the upcoming school year. Fourth and fifth grade students will be getting more recess in 2019. Our team helped move this important initiative forward by providing expert testimony in support of the bill, and uplifting other partners working to pass the bill in any way we could.
Another win for Arizona students also passed this session. SB 1008 allows schools to include lunch and recess periods as part of the instructional minutes for the school day. This means there are more opportunities for our students to move, eat, and feel their best throughout the school day. Way to go, Arizona!
Red for Ed
During the Red for Ed teacher walkouts in Arizona, our team was in full support of Arizona’s educators. Teachers are essential to the functionality of strong communities. Before and during the walkouts, we kept a running list of school closures and shared meal and childcare resources for parents and families. The Arizona Legislature has now devised a plan to give Arizona educators a pay raise over time. This pay raise was included in a budget bill signed by Governor Ducey on May 3.
The Soda Tax
House bill, HB 2484, was created to preemptively prevent soda taxes from being implemented in any city in Arizona. Our Executive Director, Adrienne Udarbe explained the potential benefits of having a soda tax in this op-ed.
Unfortunately, HB 2484 passed through the legislature and was signed by Governor Ducey.
The STRESS ACT
At the federal level, our team has also helped support the STRESS ACT (HR 5259). This bill would combat the farmer suicide rates in America by providing resources to farmers experiencing mental, financial, and physical stress. The bill would also establish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. This network would give farmers access to assistance programs like crisis hotlines and educational and outreach services.
The STRESS Act has only been introduced to the House of Representatives. If you want to see this bill get passed, show your support for farmers and HR 5259 by contacting your representatives here!
Pinnacle Prevention had a busy legislative session, and we can’t wait to see what the next one holds. We now have our sights on the Farm Bill. Keep an eye out for ways to engage and make your voices heard, and stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook for updates on other important legislation.
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