SNA-WI Government Affairs February 2018 Update
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
SNA-WI Government Affairs February 2018 Update
State Assembly Passes Nutrition Education Act!
On Tuesday, February 20th, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed the Nutrition Education Act! This is one of our top legislative priorities this session and SNA-WI has been working closely on this bill with the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The bill is also supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Heart Association.
The bill requires a school board to modify its instruction about nutrition to include knowledge of the nutritive value of foods and the role of a nutritious diet in promoting health, preventing chronic disease and maintaining a healthy weight as outlined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The government affairs team looked at statutes going as far back as we could online (1941) and the same language as it relates to nutrition education has been on the books since at least that long. Needless to say, it was time for an update, and we are pleased the language includes the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It only makes sense to use this trusted source and clearly lawmakers feel the same way!
The next step for the bill is for it to be signed by the Governor. The government affairs team will be connecting with the Governor’s office to obtain bill signing details and plans. We hope it is signed in a public setting so SNA-WI members can potentially be included in the ceremony. Stay tuned for more details!
Thanks to SNA-WI President Diane Agrell and SNA-WI Legislative Committee Chair Caitlin Harrison, as well as Jim Degan, Kerri Feyen, Judi Smith and Katie Wilson for testifying about the importance of nutrition education in classrooms during public hearings at the State Capitol! Everyone did an excellent job explaining why this bill is important and representing SNA-WI.
Legislative Session is Winding Down
The Wisconsin State Assembly has indicated they will finish legislative business for the 2017-2018 session on Thursday, February 22nd. The State Senate has indicated they will finish business sometime in March. There is a chance both houses could meet more in the spring before the summer campaign season kicks-off, but for now there is a lot happening in the legislature as lawmakers try to get their bills passed before the legislature adjourns. The government affairs team at Hoven Consulting continues to monitor legislative business during this busy time and keeps SNA-WI leadership as well as the Legislative Committee up to speed.
2018 is shaping up to be an interesting campaign year in Wisconsin. Between a Supreme Court election this April, along with other local races around the state, there will also be an election for Governor, US Senate, Congress, State Senate and State Assembly. It is only a matter of time until our mailboxes are filled with mailers and we are bombarded with internet, radio and TV ads!
Advocacy Day is Wednesday March 7, 2018
SNA-WI’s annual Advocacy Day is fast approaching! We are once again teaming up with the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for a day of legislative advocacy at the State Capitol.
This is our opportunity to meet with legislators and make sure our professional voice is heard. Our government affairs team provides detailed information to help introduce and coach attendees through legislative meetings. It is a great experience and it helps SNA-WI members form relationships with legislators, which is key to advocacy on behalf of our profession!
Last year, we had 92 people attend with room for 100. This year, we reserved room for 130 participants and we just hit our capacity. This is good news, but we wish we had room for everyone who might have been interested. We may consider reserving a larger room to allow for even more people to attend next year!
Assembly Bill 501 – FoodShare Pilot Included in January 2018 Special Session
SNA-WI joined a coalition with 17 other groups to support Assembly Bill 501, which creates a FoodShare healthy eating incentive pilot program. The bill requires the Department of Health Services to establish and implement a pilot program to provide discounts to certain households that are eligible for FoodShare benefits with discounts on fresh produce and other healthy foods. The bill, which would provide $425,000 annually to fund the program.
The bill already passed the Assembly on November 7, 2017, however the Senate version has been stuck in the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations. In an effort to get around that process, an amendment was included to January 2018 Special Session Assembly Bill 6 that included language from AB 501 as it relates to the FoodShare Incentive Program.
SS AB 6 bill passed the Assembly on Thursday, February 15th and the Senate on Tuesday, February 20th. The Governor will likely sign the bill in the coming weeks. We applaud Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R –Neenah) and Former-Senator and (current Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Sheila Harsdorf) for their leadership on this important initiative!