The legislature begins its final three weeks of session for 2016 this article we want to take a look back at what 2015 meant for CAN in Michigan.
Governor veto's legislation to regulate E-Cigarettes. The Governor says in his veto statement:
"I believe the preferred way to ensure that e-cigarettes are regulated in the interest of public health is to revise the existing definition of a tobacco product to make clear that e-cigarettes (and other novel nicotine-containing vapor products) are tobacco products subject to any restrictions generally applied to tobacco products under the Youth Tobacco Act, including the minimum age law."
Efforts have been made to reintroduce the legislation that is similar to what passed and was vetoed last session, We continue to work with the legislature to create common sense legislation and regulations surrounding E-Cigarettes.
Governor presented budget to the legislature, restores funding for cancer prevention and included a $100k increase for tobacco prevention.
Over 90 plus cancer advocates take over the Michigan Capitol to ask that cancer and tobacco prevention be a funding priority in the state's budget. With the over 70 volunteers that joined staff at the State Capitol, almost every volunteer met with their lawmakers. Jennifer Varner received CAN's Michigan Volunteer of the Year award and Governor Snyder received Michigan's Distinguished Advocate Award with his efforts around E-Cigarettes and the Healthy Michigan Plan. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley spoke to the crowd at the end of our busy lobby day!
Legislature finalizes the budget, includes $500k for cancer prevention and $1.6 Million for tobacco prevention. Attempts were made by the Senate to move the cancer prevention line to the Health Endowment Fund; a privately controlled fund set up by the legislature and Blue Cross. If those efforts would have been successful it would've meant that the State would not fund any cancer prevention programs. This was a huge victory for us and other groups that were afraid of losing their program funding.
Summer recess! Volunteers made in district meetings and drop by's with state and federal lawmakers, working hard to get our messages to the lawmakers.
As a result, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow signed on as co-sponsors to S 624, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening bill.
Members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation were targeted for co-sponsorship and support of the 21st Century Cures Act. Michigan ended up with 11 members signing onto the act and all but one member of Congress voted in support.
The State and Federal legislatures got back to work. In Michigan regulations for Bio-Similar products was a hot topic for the state. Creating regulations for these products could allow them to come to market in Michigan and make them available, creating lower cost options for biological products. This debate would go through until the end of October.
More than 700 volunteers and staff took part in the annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington DC. Michigan's delegation represented the state extremely well gaining co-sponsors on critical legislation around polyp removal coverage legislation and legislation supporting palliative care training. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was recognized at the event with the National Distinguished Advocacy Award.
October - November:
October and November saw bio-similar products at the forefront of the legislative activity. Additionally, the foundation was being set to start a large campaign issue for 2016. ACS CAN started the Prevention Michigan coalition. The coalition’s goal is to raise the tobacco taxes and use the funding to support prevention efforts in cancer and tobacco and to support the state's trauma system. We kicked off our activities with a poll and release the week of the Great American Smoke Out. The poll found 6 out of 10 Michiganders support an increase in the cigarette tax and 6 out of 10 provide more support when they know the new funding would go towards health initiatives. This shows clear support from the State for an increase in the tax and support for health in Michigan. We continue to grow our coalition to gain more support throughout the health community.
December looks as if it might be quiet for our issues in Michigan. We will continue our work on Bio-Similar products, support the newly introduced oral parity legislation and continue our work around the tobacco taxes. Petitions for the Prevention Michigan campaign are being collected with a goal of 5,000 petitions collected in 2016.
We also want to take a moment to say thank you. Our volunteers, ACT Leads, State Lead Ambassador, Community Ambassadors, and others give so much of their time to help support our efforts. Without your voice, the voice of cancer would go away. Thank you for all that you do and we hope you have a great 2016.